Council bans ‘serial complainer’ from entering any of its buildings

A MAN who has spent two decades taking issue with services provided by a Yorkshire council has been banned from entering the local authority’s buildings after bosses said he had intimidated staff.

Steve Bradbury, 60, has spent years complaining about Kirklees Council in Huddersfield, taking it to task for failing to empty his bins and for being slow in making a planning decision.

The authority offered him £250 and an apology – which he refused – and two chief executives have tried but failed to resolve his complaints.

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At one point Mr Bradbury, a property landlord, found himself in court for refusing to pay council tax and he was also charged with a breach of the peace – later dropped – after he refused to leave a council office.

In his quest for answers, he has uncovered “mocking” e-mails about him sent between officers, one of which raised the possibility of him attending a meeting armed with a knife or a gun.

Mr Bradbury then embarrassed councillors by successfully applying to become a member of the authority’s scrutiny watchdog, winning praise from officers for his investigative skills only to be told that his services would not be required.

In the latest twist, he has been banned from council meetings and buildings.

In a letter, council chief executive Adrian Lythgo said the ban for “unpredictable and unacceptable behaviour” towards staff was not taken lightly but it was clear Mr Bradbury’s motivation in attending meetings was to “confront councillors and officers” regarding long-standing complaints. The ban will be reviewed in six months.

Mr Bradbury intends to pursue his complaints because his reputation has been damaged by the mocking e-mails, he says. He remains angry at being arrested in June 2009, saying staff over-reacted by getting police involved.

He said: “Now, every time I have contact with the council, it seems as if they go out of their way to make my life as difficult as possible. I pay council tax and I expect a reasonable level of service but I get no level of service. I do expect people to treat me decently and ethically.

“They call me a persistent complainer but I will complain until they get it right. They still get paid if they provide a poor service – if it was a business they would be bankrupt.”

A council report concluded that officers should not have made derogatory comments about him in e-mails and staff should have kept him better informed about the reasons for delays in appointing him onto a scrutiny panel. A council letter said he “deserved a full and sincere apology”.

Yesterday a council spokesman said: “This situation has gone on for many years, and Mr Bradbury’s approach has exacerbated the situation. In the past the council has apologised to Mr Bradbury, most recently on May 13, which he has refused to accept.

“In ultimately having to take the decision to ban him from council buildings – to allow council officers to do their jobs without spending excessive amounts of time dealing with Mr Bradbury’s regular representations on matters that have previously been considered – we have stressed he has the opportunity to take his complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman...something he has consistently refused to do.

“The council is also duty-bound to consider the health and well-being of its own staff.”