A UTTOXETER councillor has said he will begrudgingly accept a ruling that he disclosed confidential information after dropping a judicial review against East Staffordshire Borough Council.
Andrew Riley was preparing to challenge the authority at the Administrative Court in London next month after he was judged to have breached rules by revealing information surrounding the sale of the town’s Carter’s Square car park to Lingfields to the Post and Times back in 2011.
A claim which he denies.
The Labour councillor, who represents the Uttoxeter ward, told the Post and Times that he did not know the information he divulged was private, but said due to ‘spiralling costs’ the Labour group had pulled the plug on proceedings.
East Staffordshire Borough Council’s Standards Committee found Councillor Riley to be in breach of its code of conduct, but said it did not impose any sanction on him and that, ‘unusually’, had agreed not to publicise the findings ‘for Councillor Riley’s benefit’.
A borough council spokesman added: “Nevertheless, Councillor Riley sought to challenge the decision.
“This brought the issue out into the public.
“A few days before the court was due to hear the case, Councillor Riley has withdrawn the proceedings and agreed to pay a significant contribution towards the council’s costs.
“Councillor Riley claimed that the information he disclosed was not confidential, that the decision interfered with his right to freedom of expression and that the Standards Committee was not politically neutral and was not an independent and impartial tribunal, in breach of the Human Rights Act.
“He also asked the court to make a declaration that this part of the Localism Act 2011 was incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.
“The council and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government strenuously defended these claims.”
Councillor Riley said: “I was not aware the information was private, so I don’t believe I did anything wrong.”
In November 2011 it was revealed that the borough council agreed to sell off the car park for ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’ in a decision which was signed off by the-then Conservative leader Richard Grosvenor.
It was part of a deal to bring the new shopping centre, which is currently being built on the former cattle market and will include Asda and medical centre, to the town centre.