A COTSWOLD Water Park campaigner claims he has been victimised in a bid to undermine his efforts to investigate dealings in the Cotswold Water Park.

Liberal Democrat campaigner Esmond Jenkins, who questioned local authorities about former Cotswold Water Park Society chairman Dennis Grant’s financial matters months before he admitted six charges of fraud, claims he is defending himself against an avalanche of complaints from council officers because of the way he has conducted his own investigation.

He is due before the watchdog Standard's Board for England later this year after allegedly breaching the Cotswold District Council's code of conduct.

"I have actually been accused of insulting a planning officer who claims I sat with my arms folded in a meeting held with five CDC officials and did not look directly at him," he said.

"I am being pilloried for mentioning some officers by their surnames in emails as a form of shorthand – something I do all the time.

"These are the sort of complaints you would expect to hear in a primary school playground but I have now been subjected to 10 hours of gruelling taped interview by two investigators."

Cllr Jenkins said seven complaints have been submitted by CDC’s head of planning Philippa Lowe. More had been made by Max Thomas, the owner of Water Park homes developer Watermark Ltd.

"Every hour I spend defending myself against these ridiculous and, frankly, childish claims is one hour less that I can spend doing the job the people of the Water Park elected me to do," he said.

In last week’s Standard we reported that Cllr Jenkins, along with his Lib Dem colleagues, had called for an independent external inquiry into how the £660,000 fraud committed by Grant went undiscovered for so long. Cllr Jenkins warned local authorities including CDC, Gloucestershire County Council and Gloucestershire Police that a £150,000 payment from a deal between CWPS and development company Kilbride had gone missing.

Months later it was revealed Grant pocketed the cash.

"I am obviously making some people uncomfortable by asking difficult questions which they seem unable to answer," said Cllr Jenkins. "It is too much of a coincidence that every email, every word I have uttered, every gesture and even my body language is now being subjected to the utmost scrutiny to see what they can pin on me."

A spokesman for CDC said he was unable to comment while investigations were ongoing.