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Plymouth City Council (18 015 952)

Category : Planning > Building control

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 06 Mar 2019

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mrs X complains about the Council’s failure to take action against a neighbour’s extension. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint because there is no evidence of fault by the Council.

The complaint

  1. Mrs X complains about the Council’s failure to take action against a neighbour’s extension.

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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. (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 Mrs X has commented on the draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Mrs X says that her neighbour built an extension which has damaged her property and reduced her amenity.
  2. The Council confirms that the extension itself did not need planning permission as it was Permitted Development. The Council therefore had no power to prevent the extension being built.
  3. Mrs X says that the Council’s building inspectors have not taken action for a failure to comply with building regulations. However, building regulations relate to the integrity of the building, ie it’s safety and correct construction. It does not relate to the effect upon neighbouring properties, unlike planning regulations.
  4. I do not accept therefore that any actions of the building inspectors would affect Mrs X’s amenity. Mrs X says that they were rude to her when they visited. However, we would not investigate this as I cannot satisfactorily determine what was said, or the way it was said, as I was not present at the meeting.
  5. Mrs X says that the neighbour damaged her property and did not undertake a Party Wall Act agreement with her prior to the work. However, these are private matters and can be resolved, if necessary in court.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because there is no evidence of fault by the Council.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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