Boston Borough Council has issued a six month ban to an ‘unmanageable’ resident after his latest complaint on Monday saw him stage a sit-in protest until police arrived.
Darron Abbott, of London Road, Boston, will also be blocked from making telephone calls to the council and will be blocked from all of the authority’s official social media accounts. He will not be able to attend council meetings and is only allowed to contact the council via a specified email address.
In a letter seen by The Standard which Mr Abbott, who is already dealt with under the council’s Persistent and Vexatious Complaints policy, has sent to all councillors, the authority’s head of service Katharine Nundy says she conducted a review into the restrictions following Monday’s incident at the West Street headquarters.
In her letter Mrs Nundy states that betwen April 2016 and May 2017 Mr Abbott has contacted the council or representatives of the authority more than 50 times.
The contacts included telephone calls, emails, complaints and attendance at a council reception area.
She writes: “While the council welcomes complaints and constructive feedback as an opportunity for improvement, the volume and nature of your contact with us has become unmanageable.”
She states Mr Abbott’s ‘recording of telephone discussions places unnecessary pressure on officers, particularly in view of your repeated public assertions that officers should be sacked for gross misconduct’.
The letter states: “If there are serious issues which require investigation we will undertake a thorough review however it would be for the council to determine any sanctions against officers.
“The volume of contact we receive has remained unmanageable, your perceived use of elected members to circumvent the application of this policy has placed further resource pressures on staff and your demands continue to be unreasonable and also persistent.”
In the letter, Mrs Nundy says she attended the reception on Monday to tell Mr Abbott to contact the council through the feedback email address.
She relates that it is ‘at this point you refused to leave the building’.
The police were called and Mr Abbott left.
Mrs Nundy states: “As you left the building you stated that you had recorded my conversation with you which was done covertly and without my knowledge. The incident caused significant disruption for our customers and staff.”
Mr Abbott told The Standard he had gone to the council to complain after alleging a piece of wood had flown off the back of a private company’s lorry as he walked his dog and hit him in the face.
He said he had previously complained after alleging wood was left on the road - which he believed would be a safety hazard.
He later returned to the offices after finding a further piece of wood 33-inches long on the road side - which he believed could cause a lot of harm if it hit someone.
He told The Standard he had refused to leave as he believed the issue would be ignored.
He refuted the allegation that he had not told anyone he was recording the conversation and said that he often did so as a matter of course when dealing with the council now.
Mr Abbott accused the council of playing ‘judge, jury and executioner’ and refusing to listen to his side of the story.
He called for a ‘fair hearing’ into his complaints.
In an email to council members he said: “Any other democracy would allow for both sides of the argument to be heard. But not with Boston Borough Council.”
Mr Abbott told The Standard: “They’ve even said I can’t talk to any councillors. This mean’s BTAC members like Nigel Welton and Paul Skinner can’t go to Christmas Lights meetings because I’m a member.”
Mr Abbott’s ban does not extend to council owned or associated buildings such as the Geoff Molder, the Peter Payne centre or the Crematorium. Mr Abbott is also being allowed to attend the General Election Count on Thursday having already been registered to attend.
When approached, a spokesman for Boston Borough Council said there would be ‘no comment on individual cases’.
Lincolnshire Police have confirmed no formal complaint has been made against Mr Abbott.