A county council officer has been told not to meet with a councillor and a school manager - in case it has an impact on the results of the General Election.

The Hertfordshire highways officer had been set to attend a meeting at Sandringham School, in St Albans, to discuss issues relating to the diversion of a public footpath.

But because the meeting was set to include a member of the school’s staff and local councillor John Hale, the meeting was cancelled – until after the election.

That’s because legal officers at the county council believe any meeting that includes a resident and a councillor could put them in breach of pre-election legislation, that restricts council activities in the run-up to an election.

The rules – sometimes known as ‘purdah’  or PERP – are designed to prevent local government funding from being used to promote a particular political party or candidate.

And it means councils should not publish any material which appears to be designed to affect public support for a political party.

But Liberal Democrat Cllr Hale, who represents Colney Heath and Marshalswick, believes the "ridiculous" approach taken by the county council in relation to routine private meetings is hampering the performance of councillors.

He has asked for the council to review their implementation of the pre-election restrictions.

Cllr Hale, who had hoped to meet at the school with a highways officer and a footpaths officer at the same time, said: "We’re going to end up having three or four meetings – when I hoped to have just one.

“It has taken up more of my time and more of the officers’ time."

Commenting on the decision chief legal officer Quentin Baker said: “In some cases it has been necessary to reschedule meetings involving council officers, councillors and members of the public where it was considered that this may be in breach of the pre-election period rules.”