Devon County Council (10 014 205)

Category : Transport and highways > Highway adoption

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 19 Sep 2012


Residents of a new housing estate who suffered problems because the road serving their homes was not completed complained to the Local Government Ombudsman about Teignbridge District Council and Devon County Council

The complaint

Although the Ombudsman only upheld part of the complaint, the two Councils nevertheless agreed to take action with a view to securing the completion of the necessary works and adoption of the road outside the complainants’ homes. The Ombudsman said this provided a satisfactory settlement of the complaint.

Residents of a newly-constructed housing estate complained that the District and County Councils failed to secure completion and adoption of the road serving their homes. The construction of the road had not been completed, and residents wishing to sell their homes faced significant difficulty.

The Ombudsman said: “The relevant legislation does not provide for highways authorities to meet the costs of constructing and adopting roads serving new housing developments. The complainant and other purchasers were aware when they bought their homes that the roads had not been adopted and there was no agreement in place ensuring that this would be done. I have found no evidence of maladministration by the County Council and the fault by the District Council was limited. In those circumstances I cannot recommend the County Council meet the costs of the necessary works, and do not consider it appropriate to recommend that the District Council do so. I am very pleased, however, that as a result of our investigation both Councils have agreed to work together with the residents to remedy the problem.”

The Ombudsman found:

  • fault by the District Council for failing to notify the County Council when it issued building regulations approval for the new houses
  • no fault in the District Council’s handling of the planning enforcement investigation on the planning condition requiring completion of the highways works, and
  • no fault by the County Council in dealing with the developer about the highway works to be carried out.

Ombudsman satisfied with Teignbridge DC's response: 9 April 2014

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