A line should be drawn under issues regarding the sale of Fulwell Golf Course in 1983 which has cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in tax payers money, according to the council leader.

Councillor Serge Lourie, leader of Richmond Council, responded to 10 questions from the public this week on the authority's response to a report from an information tribunal which criticised named officers for failures in handling a Freedom of Information (FoI) Act request.

Earlier this year, officers including chief executive Gillian Norton and head of legal services Richard Mellor were named in a report which said the council was unhelpful to former Hampton resident Anthony Berend in responding to an FoI request concerning an investigation into the sale of public land at the junction of Wellington Road and Sixth Cross Road.

Coun Lourie said the sale of the land, which is now Squire's Garden Centre and Fulwell Golf Course, was approved in 1983 by a council committee under a Conservative administration and said it was time to stop wasting money on the issue.

The land was released under a 999-year lease for £300,000 in 1986 and Mr Berend had asked for information concerning the report of a council task group set up in 2002, which met in private and took three years to reach its conclusions.

He asked for minutes and agendas, papers relating to the sale of the land and memos and notes between officers and councillors and appealed to an information tribunal after his requests were blocked.

Mr Berend and nine other people questioned Coun Lourie on Tuesday, September 25, at a meeting of the full council for responses to the report.

Questioners demanded disciplinary action be taken against those named, which also included information officer Matthew Ginn and senior legal officer George Chesman, and Mr Berend said the case for disciplinary action was undeniable.

The questioners also called for an independent inquiry to be launched and told Coun Lourie it was his duty to hold one.

Coun Lourie said: "The Freedom on Information request dates back some time to when the legislation was relatively new, there is no doubt some errors were made and we are committed to learning from them. They do not give rise to disciplinary matters although these would remain confidential in any case."

Coun Lourie said since 1983 there had been an investigation by the district auditor, an appeal to the audit commission, a scrutiny task group, an independent investigation, an investigation by the information commissioner and an appeal to the information tribunal.

"Together these have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in public money and nothing has ever, in the last 24 years, been proved wrong with the sale.

"If there is one things that is blindingly obvious it is time to draw a line under this and stop wasting any more public money."