Decision : Closed after initial enquiries
Decision date : 22 Oct 2023
The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about the Council failing to take action to ensure the maintenance of land near Mr X’s house which is subject to a Section 106 agreement. This is because there is currently no worthwhile outcome achievable, and the injustice Mr X claims is not significant enough to justify investigating.
- Mr X says land near his property which is subject to a Section 106 agreement has not been maintained correctly by the landowner. Mr X says the Council should maintain this piece of land and charge the cost back to the landowner.
- Mr X complained to the Council and said he has not received a response.
- Mr X says the area concerned looks messy and is overgrown.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’, which we call ‘fault’. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint, which we call ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We do not start or continue an investigation if we decide:
- there is not enough evidence of fault to justify investigating, or
- any fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained, or
- any injustice is not significant enough to justify our involvement, or
- we could not add to any previous investigation by the organisation, or
- there is no worthwhile outcome achievable by our investigation.
(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended, section 34(B))
How I considered this complaint
- I considered information provided by the complainant.
- I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.
- Mr X complained to the Council about an area of land near his property not being maintained by the landowner. This land was subject to a Section 106 agreement which requires the landowner to maintain it.
- The Council responded to Mr X’s complaint and confirmed it was seeking legal advice. It explained that once it received the advice it would decide how to proceed. I appreciate Mr X may not feel this is a reasonable response. However, the Council has advised it is seeking a legal opinion and will respond further once obtained. This response is not fault and we cannot add to it or achieve any worthwhile outcome for Mr X by investigating at the present time.
- Mr X says the land not being maintained looks a mess and is near his property. Whilst I appreciate this may be frustrating, any injustice caused to Mr X individually is limited, especially given the intended rural character of the land. However, I understand a local community group has also complained to the Council about the maintenance of the land. Once a full response is received from the Council the group may wish to raise a separate complaint about any wider injustice if it is unhappy with the Council’s decision.
- We will not investigate Mr X’s complaint because no worthwhile outcome achievable and the injustice claimed is not significant enough to justify investigating.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman