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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Legal row evolving in Cockermouth between youth club and council

A Cockermouth youth club is planning to sue Allerdale council over what it claims is a breach of contract.

Cockermouth and District Youth Club and the Evolution Centre on Highfield Road claims that the council went back on an agreement.

The council has denied the claim, saying it followed the legal process throughout its dealings with the club.

Talks are taking place to arrange a court hearing date.

Steve and Ally Michael, who run the club, claimed that the council went back on an agreement that it would supply two containers to provide storage for equipment they had ordered and other items they planned to move from changing rooms located next to the Evolution Centre.

This was in order for rooms to be used for meetings of the Highfield Community Association and for the local estate football club.

Mr Michael claimed that the council withdrew the planning application to site the two containers in the car park, next to the centre, at the last minute, thus going back on the agreement.

Mr Michael said they therefore had to store heavy and bulky equipment in the Evolution Centre which meant it could not be used for children’s activities during the summer holidays.

He said that the children missed out on taking part in those activities as well as leading to a loss of revenue for the club.

The club decided to sue the council for damages for allegedly going back on the agreement and a breach of contract.

The couple also owned the changing rooms at the site, which have now been taken over by Allerdale council, and have appealed against that decision.

Mr Michael said: “The application was pulled by the council and no reasons were given to us.

“We agreed to let the community association have the two rooms as they were meeting in the chairman’s house, which they were outgrowing, and we thought we would have the containers for storage.

“We are not against people using the building but it is a great disappointment the way it has been handled.

“It all seems to have been rushed with people going behind our backs.

“We are not objecting to getting in the way of progress. We are quite happy for the changing rooms to be in better usage for the benefit of the wider community.

“We have no axe to grind with the Highfield Association but we do with Allerdale council in the way they have treated us.

“We feel totally despondent and let down with the handling of the situation and for the council reneging on the agreement.”

Mr Michael said they had planned to build an extension to the changing rooms for storage purposes and to open up the rest of the changing rooms for community use in the future.

An Allerdale council spokeswoman said: “After failing to reach amicable solutions the council, as a last resort, took legal action against the licensees which resulted in a court hearing.

“The court found in the council’s favour and granted an order for possession forthwith of the changing rooms at Highfield Sports Ground and costs.

“It is understandable that the licensee, having lost the legal case, may wish to make unsubstantiated claims about the actions of the council but the council has adhered to the legal process throughout.”

Kevin Kerrigan, head of development services, said the application about storage containers was withdrawn as the council did not wish to progress with it at that time.

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