The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: the Council was not at fault for failing to take planning enforcement action over the number of visitor parking spaces provided on Mr X’s road. There was no breach of planning control for the Council to enforce.
- The complainant, who I have called Mr X, complained that Horsham District Council would not take enforcement action over breaches of planning control on the road where he lives. He said the planning approval required the road to have seven visitor parking spaces but some of these had been turned into casual parking bays.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have:
- considered the complaint and the information provided by Mr X;
- discussed the issues with Mr X;
- made enquiries of the Council and considered the information it provided; and
- written to Mr X and the Council with my draft decision and considered their comments.
What I found
- Mr X lives on an unadopted road. He is a leaseholder of Q Housing Association (QHA).
- In September 2016 Mr X complained to the Council as he was unhappy that there were no longer the seven visitor parking bays required by the planning approval for his road.
- The Council contacted QHA about the visitor bays. QHA provided evidence showing that there were seven visitor parking bays on the road, although they were not in the same place as shown on the approved plans. Some of the bays were called casual rather than visitor bays, but QHA confirmed they were all for visitors’ use. QHA provided an example of a letter it had sent residents about parking issues on the road. And its responses to the Council show there were also issues with people parking on the road who had no reason to be there.
- Mr X is adamant that seven visitor parking bays have not been provided. He said that, as a result, people are double parking and he has had difficulty gaining access to his road. He said the Council should take enforcement action to ensure seven visitor bays are provided.
- In response to the draft decision Mr X also said the visitor bays are being used by residents and they are not identified as visitor spaces. He said he had letters from the managing agent saying the casual spaces may be used by all residents. And he said it is a change of use if the visitor bays are now casual bays.
- When Mr X complained to the Council it contacted QHA which provided information showing that there were seven visitor parking bays on Mr X’s road. They may not be in the places shown on the approved plans, but I do not think that matters. Seven visitor bays have been provided as required by the approved plans. So there was no enforcement action for the Council to take. I would not, therefore, criticise it for failing to do so.
- Mr X was concerned that some of the bays were called casual rather than visitor bays. He thinks this is a change of use. I do not agree this is a change of use, and I do not think it matters what the bays are called. The information I have seen shows the seven bays are intended for visitors’ use only.
- There is clearly an issue with parking on Mr X’s road. But that has arisen because of the way people park rather than because of a lack of visitor parking bays. Mr X said that the spaces are not identified as visitor spaces, residents use them, and the management allow residents to use the spaces. These are estate management issues. So, if Mr X is still experiencing problems getting on and off his road, or he wants to pursue how the visitor spaces are being used, he should contact QHA. These are not a planning enforcement issues.
- I have completed my investigation and do not uphold Mr X’s complaint. There is no evidence of fault by the Council.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman