THE campaigner who claimed he was “banned” from contacting his local council for sending too many e-mails has received an apology.

Desmond Barr was accused by Renfrewshire Council of making 57 enquiries relating to the upkeep of Hawkhead Cemetery in just nine days.

However, it has now been confirmed the queries were made over the space of a year.

The businessman set up the group Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery due to concerns about the impact of moss and weeds on graveyard paths as well as headstones being laid flat on the ground by council staff.

He then contacted the council in a bid to secure improvements to the cemetery.

However, the council’s head of operations and service development, Gavin Hutton, asked Barr to refrain from copying in officers to his e-mails and was told to submit his queries to a generic council mailbox.

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The council said it had taken this action after receiving a "high volume of requests submitted to individual officers over a very short period of time."

Now, in a written letter of apology to Barr, the council said it had told media outlets the “incorrect” period over which it had received his correspondence.

It read: “It appears that unfortunately when providing background to the media queries we received following the Friends of Hawkhead Cemetery Press release, the incorrect period was applied to the correspondence and should have been 57 queries between the period of 17 June 2022 and 26 June 2023.

“I would like to apologise for this error and we are this morning contacting those journalists who had made contact to clarify this point and where that guidance had been reported, we have asked for a correction.”

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But Barr said the error may have damaged his reputation and threatened legal action against Renfrewshire Council.

“I am taking legal advice about being banned and the council’s false claims to the media in a bid to justify their outrageous attempts to silence me,” he said.

“Council officials wrongly claiming I had sent all those emails in only a nine-day period has damaged my reputation and credibility.

“They make me out as some kind of pest, who was bombarding them with emails and this plainly wasn’t the case.”

“All I’ve been doing as chairperson of the Friends of Hawkhead group is representing the concerns of the families of people who are buried there and trying to get the council to properly maintain the cemetery.

“I’ve said many times before that if the council would only do what is right and keep the cemetery in a proper state of maintenance and repair, then I wouldn’t need to contact them.”