Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 09 Mar 2017
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr B’s complaint about the situation with his easement. A court of law is the appropriate body to consider the matter and the Ombudsman would not be able to achieve a remedy for Mr B’s access issue.
- The complainant, whom I shall refer to as Mr B, complained that after the Council had sold a piece of land, it seemed to have no interest in resolving the situation with his easement and maintenance of his property.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We can decide whether to start or discontinue an investigation into a complaint within our jurisdiction. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 24A(6) and 34B(8), as amended)
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word fault to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe:
- it is unlikely we would find fault, or
- we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants, or
- there is another body better placed to consider this complaint. (Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered the information Mr B gave to the Ombudsman and the Council’s recent correspondence with him. I have given Mr B an opportunity to comment on my draft decision.
What I found
- Mr B told us his complaint is about a strip of land he has used for access to his property for ten years. He says the council has now told him the land is going to be gated off so he will now have limited access to his property.
- In his correspondence with the Council Mr B said he had received legal advice that the Council had a duty to ensure his access was in place before the sale of the land took place.
- Mr B says his interest in the land is registered on the Land Register. The Council has told him he may have some restricted access over the land and suggested he should seek legal advice.
- Mr B’s interest in the land is a legal matter so a court of law is the appropriate body to consider the matter if he cannot reach an agreement with the current landowners. In any case, now that the Council is no longer the owner of the land, the Ombudsman would not be able to achieve a remedy for the access issue.
- The Ombudsman will not investigate Mr B’s complaint because a court of law is the appropriate body to consider the matter and the Ombudsman would not be able to achieve a remedy for Mr B’s access issue.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman