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Category : Other Categories > Land

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 05 Nov 2013

Summary

Complaint from a lady that the council appropriated land at its headquarters which was designated as public open space without following the correct procedures.

The complaint

Complaint from a lady that the council appropriated land at its headquarters which was designated as public open space without following the correct procedures.

In 2011, the council looked at selling off land and buildings at its headquarters and move to new premises. The council wasn't aware that the site included land which was designated as public open space in 1941 as it didn't hold records from its predecessor councils. Members of the public including the complainant had used the land for recreational purposes for many years.

The council didn't advertise its intentions to dispose of the land designated as public open space as required by the Local Government Act 1972. Instead it decided to appropriate the land for planning purposes in a meeting of its Executive from which the public were excluded.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

The Ombudsman considers that the publication of this report provides part of the remedy as it highlights the faults in the process the council followed when making the decision to appropriate the land.

The Ombudsman also recommends that the council:

  • apologises to the complainant;
  • pay the complainant £250 to acknowledge her outrage and the loss of opportunity she experienced; and
  • review its Disposal and Acquisition of Land and Property Assets Strategy to include procedures on how to deal with land designated as public open space.

Ombudsman satisfied with council's response: 24 July 2014

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