A WATCHDOG called upon to scrutinise the controversial handover of Cotswold Country Park and Beach to property developers Watermark has decided not to continue with the investigation.

Esmond Jenkins, Cotswold District Council member for the Water Park, said he was "deeply concerned" after a provisional decision was made not to continue with an investigation into dealings at the park.

Last year, the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) was called in to probe the 2007 deal which sublet the GCC-owned former Keynes Country Park, now known as Cotswold Country Park and Beach, to second home developers Watermark without public consultation.

Writing to Mr Jenkins last week with a provisional decision on the investigation, Anne Seex, of the LGO, said the framework set by the Local Government Act 1974 for the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction meant she could not pursue the complaint further.

She added that sections 26(1) and 26A(1) of the Local Government Act 1974 gave the Ombudsman the power to investigate complaints from members of the public who had suffered personal injustice and section 29(7) states it cannot investigate action which affects most people in the area.

She said that since the LGO was publicly funded, she must use its resources as effectively as possible.

"The matters about which Mr Jenkins complains do not affect him to any greater extent than all or most other residents of the county council’s area and I see no evidence of any personal injustice to him arising as a consequence of GCC approving a sub-lease from the society," she stated.

She said she appreciated that he felt a "strong sense of outrage" but added: "I do not consider that to mean that he has suffered any greater personal injustice that would warrant the public expense of a continued investigation."

Mr Jenkins said he was very disappointed with the decision and would be writing to Ms Seex to argue his case.

"A very large number of local people, including parish councils, have called for a independent and rigorous inquiry, this call has so far been frustrated by both the Audit Commission and now the LGO relying on technicalities to thwart a very reasonable demand," he said.

"This cannot serve public interest."