12 000 843

Category : Planning > Enforcement

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 28 Apr 2014

Summary

Complaint from a woman that the council did not reach appropriate planning enforcement decisions when her neighbour put horses and equestrian development on her agricultural land without planning permission.

The complaint

Complaint from a woman that the council did not reach appropriate planning enforcement decisions when her neighbour put horses and equestrian development on her agricultural land without planning permission.

The investigation found that members of the council's planning committee decided that the women's neighbour could keep horses on the land but ownership and use should be restricted, to prevent commercial use. Members of the committee were not given the legal advice available, or told of officers concerns about the decision, so they would weight up differing views. The council did not properly record subsequent decisions, especially whether enforcement action should be less restrictive than that authorised by the planning committee.

The council served an enforcement notice on the neighbour but this was not as restrictive as members had intended as it did not restrict who owned and used horses on the land. The neighbour let the equestrian facilities to tenants who used them more intensively than she had done.

Finding

The Ombudsman upheld the complaint and found fault causing injustice.

Recommendations

To remedy the injustice caused, we recommend the council:

  • review all of the planning enforcement issues complained about for the site;
  • within three months of the date of this report prepare a report for the planning committee members to consider the options available for enforcement action;
  • review its process to make sure members receive copies of earlier reports and decisions for planning enforcement matters when decisions are deferred and that the updating report refers to them;
  • ensure that recorded decisions properly reflect the report recommendations they are referring to;
  • amend its legal services referral forms to require copes of relevant committee decisions;
  • apologise to the women; and
  • pay her £400 for her uncertainty that enforcement action could have been different and avoided significant disturbance to her, and for the undue time and trouble she was put to in trying to understand the position and complaining about the events on site.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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