Privacy settings

LGO logogram

Review your privacy settings

Required cookies

These cookies enable the website to function properly. You can only disable these by changing your browser preferences, but this will affect how the website performs.

View required cookies

Analytical cookies

Google Analytics cookies help us improve the performance of the website by understanding how visitors use the site.
We recommend you set these 'ON'.

View analytical cookies

In using Google Analytics, we do not collect or store personal information that could identify you (for example your name or address). We do not allow Google to use or share our analytics data. Google has developed a tool to help you opt out of Google Analytics cookies.

Teignbridge District Council (17 010 576)

Category : Environment and regulation > Trees

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 08 Feb 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman cannot investigate Mr B’s complaints about the Council’s decision to refuse his application to remove a protected tree. Mr B has used his right of appeal to the Planning Inspector and we have no power to investigate.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall call Mr B, complains about the Council’s decision to refuse his application to fell a protected tree. Mr B says the tree is on his boundary and he has had to reposition a boundary fence to accommodate the tree. Mr B also complains about the way the Council handled his application.

Back to top

The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We cannot investigate a complaint if someone has appealed to a government minister. The Planning Inspector acts on behalf of a government minister. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(b), as amended)

Back to top

How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the information Mr B provided when he made his complaint and the documents available on the Council’s website. I sent a draft decision to Mr B and considered his comments before making my final decision.

Back to top

What I found

  1. Mr B has explained there is a tree on the boundary between his and a neighbour’s property. The tree has caused the boundary fence to collapse. Mr B wants to remove the tree.
  2. The tree is protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). The local authority must give permission for any works to the tree. Mr B applied to the Council for permission to fell the tree and the Council refused his application.
  3. Mr B used his right of appeal to the Planning Inspector against the Council’s decision. The Planning Inspector dismissed Mr B’s appeal.
  4. The Ombudsman is not a second appeal body and we have no power to change the Council’s decision to refuse Mr B’s application. Parliament has provided applicants with a right of appeal to the Planning Inspector if they want to challenge a Council’s decision on a TPO. Where, as in this case, an applicant has used that right of appeal, the Ombudsman has no power to investigate a complaint.
  5. The Ombudsman has a general discretion whether to start an investigation. As we cannot investigate Mr B’s complaint about the Council’s decision to refuse his application, we will not investigate a separate complaint about the Council’s handling of the application.

Back to top

Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman cannot investigate this complaint. This is because Mr B has used his right of appeal to the Planning Inspector and we have no power to investigate.

Investigator’s final decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Back to top

Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

Print this page