Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

WE WANT OUR SAY; Pair Angry at Council 'Gag'

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

WE WANT OUR SAY; Pair Angry at Council 'Gag'

Article excerpt

Byline: SANDY McKENZIE

CLAIMS that Middlesbrough Council is attempting to gag them have been made by two Albert Park campaigners.

Mike Dunn and Billy Charlton have been told the council now considers they are "vexatious and unreasonably persistent complainants".

Ian Parker, the council's chief executive has rejected the gagging claims. He says repeatedly addressing the same matters is not a reasonable use of council resources.

The council's decision means it will acknowledge any complaints about Albert Park the men make over issues such as the dog control order, the Parkrun and disability access. But the authority will not take any action on the complaints.

Mr Dunn and Mr Charlton say the council is trying to gag them. Park Ward councillor Joe Michna has urged the council to reconsider its decision.

Mr Dunn, 70, a retired works engineer, said: "I am not happy. There is a complaints system in place and that is what we have been using to raise legitimate issues."

He said other issues raised ranged from overgrown bushes causing problems to the closure at times of the vehicular entrance to the disabled parking spaces from Park Road South and the need to replace missing copper tape on the bandstand which was a required safety measure.

"Without a shadow of doubt this is an attempt to shut us up. I am now in contact with the Local Government Ombudsman," said Mr Dunn.

Mr Charlton, 58, said he was disgusted at the council's action and he claimed the council was trying to gag them.

"We think we are being responsible in pointing things out to the council," he said.

"We have pointed out delivery and council vehicles have not been abiding by the 5mph speed limit in the park. I have asked why some benches have been removed. The trouble is this council does not like to be questioned."

Mr Dunn and Mr Charlton have been given support by Billy Betts, 78, who visits the park daily to walk his dog.

Cllr Michna said he was shocked and appalled when he heard of the council's action.

"Mike Dunn is one of the people I represent in the Park Ward. …

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