LEGAL action has been taken against Bembridge Parish Council.

A writ was served to the parish council on Tuesday afternoon and they have until Christmas day to announce whether they will defend the action in the High Court.

The action comes after more than ten residents signed an open letter to the group of seven councillors that have backed the controversial sale of 5-7 High Street, Bembridge.

Peter Burke, who has an office in the building, told the County Press he had attempted to buy the building for the community but his initial offer — which included a buy-back option for a future parish council or community group — was rejected.

He said he increased it by £15,000 and added a further incentive — to keep the public toilets open at an annual peppercorn rent of £1 — but that too was turned down, he claimed, in favour of a lower offer. Soon after, he claimed his lease renewal was withdrawn.

Mr Burke's lawyers have now taken legal action against the council over its decision to accept a lower offer.

In an extraordinary meeting held on Tuesday night, the chairman of the parish council told residents there could not be any discussion or questions regarding the sale of 5-7 High Street or any legal or criminal matters.