Lawyer’s fight for answers wins support

Blackpool Enterprise Centre where Norths Solicitors is based. Below: Coun Tony Williams.
Blackpool Enterprise Centre where Norths Solicitors is based. Below: Coun Tony Williams.
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Calls were today made for a public investigation to be launched after council bosses tried to evict a solicitor who was suing the authority over the state of the resort’s roads.

As revealed in The Gazette on Saturday, Joanna Trafford had Blackpool Council’s decision to kick her out of the Blackpool Enterprise Centre quashed by a High Court judge.

Coun Tony Williams

Coun Tony Williams

He ruled the council had acted in “retaliation” over claims the ‘no win non fee’ solicitor had sought out clients who had slipped or tripped on the resort’s roads.

Ms Trafford said the authority had wasted £50,000 of taxpayers’ money defending its bid to cancel her tenancy at the council-owned offices.

Ms Trafford has now called on the council to reveal those responsible for issuing the eviction notice.

And she attacked council leader Simon Blackburn after he wrote to her stating the nature of her business was “wholly contrary to the stated aims and objectives” of the council.

Her calls were today backed by Coun Tony Williams, who heads up the opposition Tory group on the council.

He said: “The bottom line is we can’t discriminate the type of business that we offer to people just because they have dealings against the council – that’s the nature of the beast.

“There was obviously no problem with her (Ms Trafford) when she moved in.

“It seems a very heavy-handed approach to me and the High Court judge has made the right decision.

“If she feels someone’s got a personal vendetta against her and wants a public investigation that’s exactly what should happen.”

Ms Trafford’s firm Norths Solicitors has represented a number of clients making personal injury claims against the council over slips, trips and falls in the last five years.

The council’s Corporate Asset Management Group, which meets to discuss its property portfolio, agreed to end Ms Trafford’s lease in November 2012.

This was despite an admission by CAMG members that her removal would put financial pressure on the budget of the centre.

Sitting at Manchester High Court, Judge Stephen Davies ruled against the council.

He said: “It seems to me the (council’s) decision can be categorised as either vindictive or irrational.”

A Blackpool Council spokesman said: “We are bitterly disappointed with the judgement that has been made.”

Click here to read more on this story: COUNCIL SLAMMED IN ROAD ROW ‘EVICTION’

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