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Epping Forest District Council (16 018 493)

Category : Planning > Planning applications

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 29 Mar 2017

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mr X complains about the Council’s refusal of his planning application. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint because there was a right of appeal to a Planning Inspector.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complains about the Council’s refusal of his planning application.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The law says we cannot normally investigate a complaint when someone can appeal to a government minister. However, we may decide to investigate if we consider it would be unreasonable to expect the person to appeal. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6)(b))
  2. The Planning Inspector acts on behalf of the responsible Government minister. The Planning Inspector considers appeals about:
  • delay – usually over eight weeks – by an authority in deciding an application for planning permission
  • a decision to refuse planning permission
  • conditions placed on planning permission
  • a planning enforcement notice.

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the complainant's comments and the Council's comments and Mr X has commented on the draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr X submitted a planning application for a building in the green belt which the Council refused (and was also refused on appeal). The Planning Inspector had refused two previous (and similar) planning applications by Mr X.
  2. Mr X says that these decisions are inconsistent. The Council has explained why it distinguished between the planning applications but advised that any dispute about the merits of a planning application is for the Planning Inspector.
  3. I see no reason why the Council’s recent decision cannot be appealed to a Planning Inspector. The Planning Inspector’s decision is binding and the Planning Inspector is unbiased and can consider the merits of the decision.

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Final decision

  1. For the reasons given above I do not propose to investigate this complaint. The planning application decision can be appealed to a Planning Inspector.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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