Suffolk County Council (18 009 403)

Category : Transport and highways > Other

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 18 Dec 2018

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: The Ombudsman does not find there is evidence of fault in the Council’s refusal to allow crossover from Mr A’s home.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I shall refer to as Mr A, complains there was fault by the Council in refusing his application for a crossover from his home. He says it is unfair and he had to pay a significant fee.

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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 copy correspondence provided by the complainant. I have made enquiries of the Council and considered the comments and documents the Council provided. I have also discussed the complaint with the complainant and considered his comments on my draft decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr A applied to the Council for permission to install vehicle access from his home to the street (a dropped kerb or crossover). The road is not subject to permit parking. In July 2018, the Council refused on the basis that a crossover would have an impact on parking in the area. It further noted that the area outside his home had been constructed specifically for parking and allowing crossover would have an impact on street parking.
  2. Mr A complained that he had received misleading advice in 2017 that his application would likely be approved. The Council replied that his application had been refused because of the impact on parking in the area. It stated that it could not find any official papers giving permission and so it could not see that it was properly assessed by the County Council at the time. The Council said it understood his reasons for applying but it could only consider the application against its guidelines. It explained the Council must assess the property not the requirements of the occupier. As there was an area clearly constructed for parking outside his home, creating a crossover would result in a loss of parking.
  3. Mr A complained further that Council officers had advised that the situation in his road was not straightforward and he had waited for confirmation from these officers. This had delayed matters. He also stated that other residents nearby had crossovers and a layby had been created. In his view, the Council had ignored the impact on parking when it allowed the layby.
  4. The Council replied that it did not comment on other approved applications which may have been approved under different criteria that were in place at the time.

Analysis

  1. The Council has explained it considered Mr A’s application according to its criteria. This states under D: Impact on Parking in the area, that applications “will be refused where highway parking is managed to the benefit of residents e.g. permit parking area.”
  2. In Mr A’s case while it is not a parking permit area, there is a grasscrete parking area for residents in front of Mr A’s home. The Council’s criteria refers to a parking permit area as an example, in this section, so I do not consider there is apparent fault in the Council considering the existing grasscrete parking area and the impact on it when making a decision.
  3. The Council has explained it does not comment on crossovers which it has approved in the past because these may have been approved under different criteria. I consider there is no apparent fault here. In addition, each application must be considered according to current guidelines and criteria and on its own merits.

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Final decision

  1. I have not found fault by the Council. I have completed my investigation and close the complaint.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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