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City of Wolverhampton Council (17 006 835)

Category : Planning > Building control

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 16 Feb 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Ms X complains that a neighbour has encroached on her land and built over a pipe on her land. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint because this is a private matter and any failure of the Council would not cause the injustice alleged to Ms X.

The complaint

  1. Ms X complains that a neighbour has encroached on her land and built over a pipe on her land.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. 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
  • the fault has not caused injustice to the person who complained.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the complainant's comments and the Council's comments and Ms X has had an opportunity to comment on the draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Ms X’s neighbour built an extension which she says encroached on her land and has built a pipe which extends into her garden. She says that this should not have been passed as part of the building regulations application for the extension.
  2. Building regulations relate to the integrity of a building rather than planning permission which relates to the impact of a building on neighbouring properties. However, neither permissions give a builder the right to build on land without the permission of the owner.
  3. So, whether or not the pipe and building should have received building regulation approval or planning permission, the issue here relates to building and development without ownership permission. This is therefore a private matter between Ms X and her neighbour.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. There is no evidence of alleged fault causing injustice. This is a private matter.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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