UP to £20,000 of taxpayers’ cash is set to be spent on audit investigations into a tiny parish council amid a resident’s claim it is a “private members’ club” which has failed to follow regulations.

Objections to the annual returns made by Potto Parish Council in 2014-15 and 2015-16 have so far meant £10,000 has been spent, accounting for most of the annual income it gets from council taxpayers, on paying external auditors to investigate.

Audits are also being carried out on accounts for the past two years, which could mean a further £10,000 bill.

The council and its chairman has declined to respond to requests from The Northern Echo for information.

A local resident who has made the complaints and asked not to be named, said the initial lengthy and very expensive audits by PKF Littlejohn determined the council was failing to adhere to local government regulations on meetings.

The parish, between Northallerton and Stokesley, only has about 115 households.

The resident claims: “The council published two remedial action plans but failed to follow them. As a result, the council has failed to acknowledge or to correct any of their serious problems.

"This has resulted in the council repeating their failures and this problem has precipitated the two current audit investigations.

"More than £10,000 has been spent so far, and yet the council continue to repeat all of their problems each year.”

The resident alleges that council meetings are still being held unlawfully, agendas and meeting minutes are not being published to comply with the law.

He said: “The council is run as an unaccountable private members’ club, but is funded by compulsory taxation of the public.

"This is not what a local council should be for, it should be representing the electors of the parish. It just won’t do.”

The council’s August minutes note that two complaints against it to the Information Commissioner’s Office had been thrown out.

PKF Littlejohn said it would not comment on any investigation.