Community leaders axed after court row

THREE community leaders have been stripped of their posts in Craigmillar after an 18-month legal battle ended in Scotland's supreme civil court.

Controversial former city councillor Paul Nolan and colleagues Patsy King and David Walker have lost their fight to hang on to their positions at the local community council.

They had resisted calls to stand down in the wake of a bitter dispute over the fairness of their appointments following elections in 2006.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is claimed the judicial review instigated by the city council has now cost taxpayers around 60,000.

City leader Jenny Dawe today hailed the decision as "the right result" for the community.

The three claimed the council had "employed sinister tactics to silence any dissenting voices".

Mr Nolan has been told by the Court of Session he should stand down as a community council member, as well as fellow member and treasurer Patsy King and returning officer David Walker.

The three were close allies and part of a wider group of community activists dubbed "the Craigmillar cabal".

The judicial review was ordered in August 2006 amid concerns their appointments had broken community council rules.

Mr Nolan was appointed to his post unelected as a nominated representative of the Jack Kane Centre. He is said to have been appointed at a meeting when many of his opponents were on holiday, after being substituted for another nominee at the last minute.

Mr Walker, who was also secretary of the community council, has now resigned from that position, as well as losing his returning officer post. Fellow community councillors Ijaz Nazir, Andy Dick and Mick McNulty have also quit in protest.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Local activist Norrie Davies, who sits on the community council, said the affair had damaged Craigmillar. "We have been pulled into politics, and the community has suffered as a result," he said.

An informal meeting of the community council will now be held to appoint replacements.

Elections are then expected to be held to appoint six new community councillors.

Mr Nolan and his associates are able to stand for re-election, but the group today appeared to rule that possibility out, saying they would focus on "more effective mechanisms to allow people to participate in their community".

In a statement, the six members who resigned, including Mr Nolan and Ms King, said: "The city council's determination to silence anybody who is prepared to challenge them is evidenced by its willingness to bully and intimidate local people by dragging them through the court system."

A city council spokeswoman said accurate legal costs are not currently available. Councillor Dawe said: "This is the right result. Community councils play an important role in the city and it is important the democratic process is transparent and conducted in a proper manner."

Related topics: