Local Government Ombudsman
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Bradford City Council (06C02472)

Planning applications                 Maladministration causing injustice

17 May 2007

Extensive flaws were found in the way Bradford Council granted planning permission for a home extension. The Ombudsman criticised failures to follow proper procedures, to notify neighbours, and to keep proper records. But she did not find that the outcome to the planning application would have been different, had things been done properly.

The Council granted planning permissions for two home extensions: first to the complainants, ‘Mr and Mrs Harris’ (not their real names for legal reasons), and then some months later to their neighbours. Both permissions were subject to conditions requiring obscure glazing in overlooking windows. The neighbours asked for the obscure glazing condition to be lifted from their permission. The Council attempted to do this by making a minor amendment to the decision notice that they had issued, and did not consult Mr and Mrs Harris who had asked for the condition to be imposed. There is no power for a council to amend a decision notice.

The Ombudsman found a number of faults by the Council, including:

  • failure to follow the statutory procedure;
  • failure to notify Mr and Mrs Harris; and
  • failures to record a site visit or any consideration given to the merits of the application.

However, the Ombudsman did not find that Mr and Mrs Harris’ amenity had been prejudiced by the Council’s maladministration, recommending the Council to pay them £600 compensation for their distress, time and trouble.

Date Updated: 16/01/09