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West Norfolk Council says sorry to resident after dispute





West Norfolk Council has apologised to a man who the authority has been in dispute with for a number of years, after an ombudsman ruled in his favour.

Simon Nash, owner of Setch-based taxi testing station Silena Automotive, was made subject to the authority’s Persistent Complainant Policy in 2015 following a taxi complaint row.

Simon Nash (4274144)
Simon Nash (4274144)

At the time, the council said it had received more than 50 emails from him in a 10 month period, which Mr Nash said related to a few different matters including the issuing of taxi penalty points to a taxi driver who allowed his licensed vehicle to be driven by a mechanic.

The council decided to block his emails, which Mr Nash said amounted to placing a ‘gagging order’ on him – something he still maintains.

His company, Silena Automotive, had been a council approved taxi testing station, but Mr Nash said the council removed them from the approved list after 13 years in 2016 due to the deterioration of their working relationship.

“The council blamed me for destroying our relationship, but nobody in the council would speak to me,” Mr Nash added.

He says, despite the council apologising to him following a Local Government Ombudsman’s ruling in July, his emails continue to be blocked by the authority.

The ombudsman’s ruling was in relation to the authority’s policy on Unreasonably Persistent Complaints, and in the report, the ombudsman states: “The council’s fault has caused injustice to the complainant. I am satisfied that the council’s intended actions will remedy this injustice.”

According to the ombudsman’s report, West Norfolk Council has agreed to review its policy on Unreasonably Persistent Complaints within three months and review Mr Nash’s inclusion on the register within four months.

Mr Nash also claimed that for a period of 23 months, the authority did not have an independent person to deal with complaints regarding councillors, which he says he discovered after raising such a complaint.

“It’s just unbelievable, how many people are complaining and nothing is being done about it, as they are either not answering, refusing to respond, or they are not being put to an independent person,” he said.

Mr Nash added that now he has received the ombudsman’s ruling, he intends to “rebuild” his business and hopes he will be added to the council’s approved list for taxi testing stations once more, as he believes the authority removing him from the list amounted to a breach of contract.

The Lynn News approached West Norfolk Council for comment, but this had not been received by the time of going to press.



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