PRESS RELEASE - 9th March 2021
‘VENGEFUL‘ COUNTY COUNCIL TAKES LEGAL ACTION TO SHUT DOWN COMMUNITY R4C
London solicitors firm Eversheds serves wind up notice on community benefit society
Gloucestershire County Council is seeking to shut down community benefit society Community R4C by serving a winding up petition via the courts. CR4C says this a ‘vengeful and malicious action’ which serves no public interest purpose. They also say it will prevent them from bidding with others for lottery funding to promote waste reduction in Gloucestershire.
After last year’s Community R4C’s High Court case against the GCC the latter were, surprisingly, awarded costs. They have since dropped their claim for costs because CR4C had insufficient funds to pay but have now decided to try to shut the benefit society down. A letter from top UK firm of solicitors, Eversheds, whose fees to County taxpayers are already estimated to be in the £100,000’s, was issued last Friday to CR4C setting out the winding up process.
The new move comes as County auditor Grant Thornton nears the end of a three-year long investigation into whether the controversial £613 million Javelin Park incinerator contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty broke public procurement rules in 2016 and therefore did not deliver value for money. This inquiry was triggered by an objection from the Community R4C directors who say that the action by the Council can only be intended to put pressure on them as they make their final submissions.
Sue Oppenheimer, co-chair of Community R4C said: “This is either a simple act of revenge or the Cabinet cabal is attempting to shut us up by shutting us down. Either way it is an outrageous waste of public funds to use one of the country’s most expensive solicitors to bully and punish a small volunteer-run, community organisation.”
“Our overall mission is to promote a circular economy and we are currently working with a number of local organisations on a lottery bid together to improve waste reduction and reduce carbon emissions. This will support the efforts of the waste collection authorities and the county council. The GCC’s action will damage the chances of that bid’s success.”