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London Borough of Bexley (20 000 325)

Category : Planning > Planning advice

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 01 Feb 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate this complaint about planning advice given more than 20 years ago. It is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different result. And we cannot achieve the outcome the complainant is seeking.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I shall call Mr X, complains the Council gave him wrong planning advice when he built an extension to his home 21 years ago. He says he spent more than was necessary and wants the Council to pay him for unnecessary expenses.

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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 further investigation will lead to a different outcome
  • we cannot achieve the outcome someone wants

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

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information provide by Mr X, including his complaints to the Council and its responses.

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What I found

  1. Mr X says he sought advice from the Council before building an extension to his home in 1998. He says he was told a false pitch roof would not get planning permission. However, he says the Council has recently approved an extension to a house in his road with a false pitch roof.
  2. Mr X has not provided any written evidence of the advice provided by the Council in 1998. He asserts he would not have spent more money that necessary and a false pitch roof would have been cheaper.
  1. I understand Mr X says he would not have spent money on a pitched roof if he had not been told it was necessary. However, there are no records of planning advice provided 21 years ago. There is no documentary proof that advice Mr X was given was wrong at that time. Also, local and planning policy have changed several times in the last two decades.

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Final decision

  1. I will not investigate this complaint. For the reasons stated in paragraph 7 above, it is unlikely further investigation will lead to a different outcome. And we cannot achieve the outcome he is seeking.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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