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.
- Mr X complains about the Council’s refusal of his planning application.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- 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))
- 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.
How I considered this complaint
- I have considered the complainant's comments and the Council's comments and Mr X has commented on the draft decision.
What I found
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- For the reasons given above I do not propose to investigate this complaint. The planning application decision can be appealed to a Planning Inspector.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman