A FORMER Helensburgh and Lomond councillor has hit out at local authority officials for apparently deleting the details of problems he raised on behalf of constituents during his time in office.

George Freeman failed in his bid to secure re-election as an independent in the Lomond North ward at the election on May 5.

Mr Freeman says Argyll and Bute Council bosses are now refusing to provide him with update on any cases he raised with officials before the election and which were still ‘live’ on polling day.

He said: “After the elections, I had many live cases I had been pursuing on behalf of former constituents.

“To try and ensure I had a managed withdrawal from the council after the elections, I asked council officers if I could be updated on all outstanding cases so that I could be assured that the council was continuing to take action to address problems former constituents had raised with me.

“I was disappointed the council refused and confirmed to me that all my cases had been deleted. They said that I was no longer a councillor and used data protection regulations as their reasoning for their refusal.

“Officers did state that any issues raised by me would be “progressed as the normal course of business in exactly the same way as any other request”.

“Unfortunately, knowing how difficult it can be to get the council to deal with problems, this does not reassure me and given that all my cases have been deleted, I do not see how it is possible for officers to track all the problems I had raised.

“As the council has removed all my IT equipment and I no longer have a council email address and cannot access to my previous correspondence on these matters, any constituents emailing me for updates on their cases would see their emails bouncing back to them and would be left in the dark as to what may be happening with their cases.

“Constituents should have every expectation that they can contact councillors direct with their problems and that their councillors will make every effort to pursue these issues via the appropriate Council officers which is one of the main functions of a councillor. Constituents should not be forced to submit their problems via the council website.”

Mr Freeman had been a councillor for 23 years - the first eight of them for Garelochhead and Cove and then, following the introduction of multi-member wards in 2007, as one of three representatives for Lomond North.

He says that any Lomond North resident who raised an issue with him before May 5, and who has yet to have their case resolved, should now take it up with one of the three councillors for the area.

Their contact details are as follows.

Maurice Corry (Conservative): maurice.corry@argyll-bute.gov.uk or 01436 658715.

Mark Irvine (Independent): mark.irvine@argyll-bute.gov.uk, 01436 658708, or 07788 543275

Shonny Iain Paterson (SNP): iainshonny.paterson@argyll-bute.gov.uk, 01436 658785, or 07747 656668.

A council spokesperson said: “If someone is no longer a councillor, the council can no longer share information with them about individuals. There are different ways for people to raise matters with the council.

“Contact details for serving councillors, for example, are on our website at argyll-bute.gov.uk/councillor_list.”