Decision : Upheld
Decision date : 08 May 2012
Essex County Council refused to pay compensation to a couple who suffered noise nuisance from a nearby waste transfer station in the same way as they paid two other households following a Local Government Ombudsman report in 2006.
The current Ombudsman said: “There is no justification for treating them differently to the two other residents who have received loss of value payments.”
In 2006 the then Ombudsman found fault by Essex County Council and Epping Forest District Council in the way the County Council granted a licence for a waste transfer station. He decided that the District Council wrongly gave advice that the waste transfer station had an established use, and the County Council granted a licence without taking adequate steps to ensure the advice was soundly based. These faults caused an injustice to two residents who had complained to him and who suffered noise nuisance from vehicle movements associated with the site. Both Councils accepted the Ombudsman’s recommendation that they should share the cost of paying £15,000 and £100,000 to the two residents.
Another couple, Mr & Mrs R, lived directly opposite the entrance to the site. They suffered the same noise nuisance as the two residents who complained at the time. An independent valuer said the waste transfer station reduced the value of their home by £30,000. If they had complained to the Ombudsman in 2006 the Councils would have made a payment to them to reflect that reduced value.
In 1999 Mr & Mrs R were among residents who complained to the District Council. In 2008 they contacted the District Council to seek a similar payment to those recommended by the Ombudsman. The District Council refused so Mr & Mrs R complained to the Ombudsman in 2009.
The Ombudsman asked both Councils to get an independent valuation of Mr & Mrs R’s home. The valuer said their home had been reduced in value by £30,000. The District Council accepted the valuation and paid £12,000 to Mr & Mrs R. The County Council, however, did not agree with the valuation and refused to pay anything.
The Ombudsman recommended that Essex County Council should pay £18,000 to Mr & Mrs R as 60 per cent of the £30,000 reduced value of their home.
LGO satisfied with Council's response: 10 December 2012