The borough council spent almost £5,000 in taxpayers' money pursuing a legal injunction to stop caravans being parked at the British National Party's annual festival in Denby, it has been revealed.
The right wing party held its controversial Red, White and Blue bash on land owned by party member Alan Warner off Codnor Denby Lane in August.
Amber Valley Borough Council wrote to Mr Warner in July warning him that using his land as a temporary caravan park for the weekend was contrary to the Town and County Planning Act and obtained an injunction. Mr Warner says he refused to sign the injunction as it did not specifically say how many caravans would be allowed and as soon as the number was confirmed as three he agreed. However in the meantime the council pursued a case in the High Court against him.
Now a freedom of information request by the BNP has revealed council solicitors' fees amounted to £4,373 plus VAT of £626.25 for the case.
Mr Warner said: "The only reason I didn't sign their injunction was because it said a 'small number' of caravans would be allowed. That could be ten, it could be 20. When the police confirmed it was three I signed up straight away but Amber Valley jumped the gun. It is unbelievable really, costing the ratepayers all this money."
Mr Warner says he has now submitted an application to Amber Valley Borough Council applying for permission to site 40 caravans on his land next summer.
Amber Valley Borough Council has defended its decision to pursue an injunction against the number of caravans permitted at the festival. A spokesman for the council said: "Do we feel the costs of the High Court injunction were a constructive use of public money? Yes."
More than 1,000 people marched in protest against the festival on August 15 and police made 19 arrests as well as issuing two cautions and two fixed penalty notices. In September, a BNP member, 66-year-old John Jones, was fined £146 by Derby magistrates for making a Nazi salute at protesters.
Ripley and Heanor News