A Norfolk council, which has faced millions of pounds in losses after purchasing and trying to sell a golf club, is fighting not to have to publish the financial details behind the controversy.

Breckland Council has decided to appeal against a ruling from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) that it must release previously confidential details about its ownership of Barnham Broom Golf Club.

It has done so after Green councillor Timothy Birt lodged a Freedom of Information request with the council, which it refused, before he took the matter to the ICO.

Now, the authority has decided to reject the ruling and take the case to a tribunal.

The council bought the club in 2006 for £7m and spent another £1.2m on taxes and a further £2m doing it up.

And the authority was, as of February 2022, understood to be trying to sell the club for just £2m.

The club has been discussed by councillors at several meetings which the public have been banned from, on the grounds of commercial confidentiality.

It was the details of these discussions, along with the club’s annual rental income over the last decade, which Mr Birt requested in January 2021.

The councillor said Breckland’s decision to appeal against the ruling was “most disappointing” and “feels very much like a delaying tactic”.

“The decision notice issued by the ICO is very clear, there is nothing ambiguous, so I wonder what Breckland's barrister has advised."

He added that the move appeared to go against the so-called 'Nolan principle' of taking decisions in an open and transparent manner.

“This is supposed to be the default and yet I have had to fight every inch of the way against a council who have effectively unlimited resources to resist.

“I wonder how much the barrister cost and how much taking this to a tribunal will be. Is this good use of public money?”

A Breckland Council spokeswoman said the information "has not been made public because we firmly believe that releasing commercially-sensitive information is likely to damage the business of the tenant, could negatively impact the local job market, and may be detrimental to the council’s own commercial interests which in turn will adversely affect the public purse".

She added: "We respect the role of any independent body. However, we have appealed the initial decision as we do not agree with the interpretation of the information, and the appeals process is there for situations such as this.”