Petition move in call for Torquay balloon unpaid rent inquiry
A PETITION and protest meeting are calling for a full inquiry into why the operators of Torquay's Hi-Flyer Balloon have not paid rent for several years.
The balloon protest meeting will be held this Sunday at the seafront site at 3pm.
Signatures for a petition will also be collected in Paignton by campaigners demanding answers about the outstanding £50,000 rent in Paignton town centre this weekend.
At the same time the petitioners are concerned about the state of the site of the former balloon, which has not flown since it was destroyed by gales in January.
It emerged after a Freedom of Information request by two members of the public that operator Lindstrand had allegedly not paid any rent since 2009 due to a legal dispute between the council and operator which is ongoing.
Cllr Darren Cowell said: "We are going to try to get 1,000 signatures by the end of this month.
"There was already an online petition but there are a lot of people who don't have access to that. So we started a paper petition which calls on the Overview and Scrutiny committee to conduct a full inquiry with the power to call in councillors and any officers who can provide information after the legal dispute is concluded."
Anti-balloon campaigner and chairman of the Torquay Neighbourhood Plan Forum Susie Colley is concerned that the site looks scruffy.
She said: "The minimum of concrete footings are being removed and small amounts of top soil are being spread on top."
Calls for an inquiry have been dismissed by mayor Gordon Oliver who said the public and councillors would have to wait because of the legal wrangle.