Devon County Council (17 008 264)

Category : Transport and highways > Highway adoption

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 26 Mar 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mr X complains the Council will not adopt the roads on his estate until the breach of planning control is resolved. There is no evidence of fault in the way the Council reached this decision.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall refer to as Mr X complains the Council has failed to adopt the roads on the estate where he lives.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints of injustice caused by ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. We must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3), as amended)
  2. If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered the complaint and the documents provided by Mr X and the Council. I have also sent a statement setting out my draft decision to Ms X and the Council and invited their comments.

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What I found

  1. Mr X lives on a relatively new housing estate. The Council has agreed to adopt the new roads on the estate once the developer has completed the works in accordance with the planning permission.
  2. The planning permission included an emergency access from the new estate on to Y road. The district council allowed the developer to use this access for construction traffic while building the estate, but now expects the developer to comply with the planning permission. Although work on the site is complete, the developer has not closed this access.
  3. The developer successfully applied for planning permission to retain the access, but could not satisfy the conditions. To overcome the breach of planning control the developer has submitted a further planning application to retain the access.
  4. Mr X complains that until the issue of the access onto Y road is resolved the Council will not adopt the roads on the estate, and residents will only receive a limited service.
  5. The Council has confirmed it has no role in the enforcement of any breaches of planning control at the site. Planning enforcement is a matter for the district council.

Mr X is unhappy with Council’s position and believes it should exert more pressure on the district council to resolve the matter.

Analysis

  1. I recognise Mr X’s frustration that the Council has not adopted the roads on the estate. But this is not due to fault on the part of the Council.
  2. The Council has a limited role in planning applications determined by the district council. It offers advice as a statutory consultee, but has no role in the enforcement of any breaches of planning control.
  3. In the absence of any fault on the part of the Council I am unable to consider this matter further.

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Final decision

  1. There is no evidence of fault in the Council’s refusal to adopt the roads on Mr X’s estate until the breach of planning control is resolved.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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