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Cambridge City Council (21 009 887)

Category : Planning > Planning applications

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 07 Oct 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We will not investigate Mr B’s complaint that the Council has delayed deciding his planning application. This is because it was reasonable for Mr B to appeal to the planning inspector.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, who I will refer to as Mr B, complains that the Council has not decided his planning application, which the Council received in January 2021. Mr B says the Council’s delay means he cannot go ahead with the proposal and this has resulted in distress and financial loss. Mr B would like the Council to pay for the financial losses he has suffered.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. The Act 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))
  3. 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 considered information provided by Mr B.
  2. I considered the Ombudsman’s Assessment Code.

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My assessment

  1. Mr B had a right of appeal to the planning inspector against the Council’s non-determination of his planning application. Mr B had six months to put in this appeal after the date the Council’s decision was due.
  2. I find it was reasonable for Mr B to use this right of appeal because the planning inspector has the power to grant planning permission. I also consider it was reasonable to expect Mr B to have been aware of this right of appeal.

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Final decision

  1. We will not investigate Mr B’s complaint because it was reasonable for him to appeal to the planning inspector.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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