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Royal Borough of Greenwich (20 013 486)

Category : Transport and highways > Street furniture and lighting

Decision : Not upheld

Decision date : 16 Aug 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Ms X complains about the Council’s decision to place a bicycle hangar on the road outside her home. The complaint was closed because there was no fault by the Council. However, the Council still has to consider the impact of its decision on Ms X and her disabled father.

The complaint

  1. Ms X complains about the Council’s decision to place a bicycle hangar on the road outside her home. Ms X says:
    • There are insufficient parking spaces to accommodate the bicycle hangar.
    • The bicycle hangar takes up a full parking space contrary to a statement within the Council’s consultation document in which it is said to take up half a parking space.
    • The decision to position the bicycle hangar outside her home was unreasonable.
    • The feasibility checklist done by the Council before installation of the hangar lacks detail
    • There are other locations in the vicinity more suitable for a bicycle hangar.
  2. Ms X’s father lives with her. She is his main carer and drives him to and from his medical appointments and social engagements. He is a blue badge holder. The location of the bicycle hangar creates a difficulty for Ms X with regard to access to her home for her father. Ms X would like a disabled parking bay to be created outside her home.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word fault to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. If there has been fault which has caused an injustice, we may suggest a remedy. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26(1) and 26A(1), 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 considered the complaint and background information provided by Ms X and the Council. I discussed matters with Ms X by telephone. I sent a draft decision statement to Ms X and the Council and invited their comments on it.

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What I found

  1. The Council placed a bicycle hangar on the highway just outside Ms X’s home. It consulted on the proposal to place a hangar in the area. However, Ms X did not respond to the consultation because she was dealing with the pressures of her caring responsibilities as well as her job.
  2. Ms X complained to the Council after the bicycle hangar was installed in the location outside her home.
  3. The Council responded to the points made in Ms X’s complaint. In summary, it explained why the decision to place the hangar in its present location was in line with its policies and appropriate. It noted the impact on Ms X and her father but explained that it was not aware of his disability or the stated impact at the time it made its decision. It therefore could not have taken the impact into account. It explained the process for applying for a disabled parking space to Ms X.

Finding

  1. I am satisfied the Council’s decision was reasonable and taken without fault in the process. There was no dedicated parking space set aside for Ms X’s when the Council proposed siting a hangar on the road. So, the Council could not have considered the impact locating a hangar outside Ms X’s home would have on her and her father.
  2. Ms X points to procedural issues with the decision process such as the description of the hangar in a consultation document as taking up half a parking space whereas the hangar actually takes up a full parking space. I do not find this amounts to fault by the Council. It may be that the description was inaccurate but it is clear the intention was to place a bicycle hangar on the road regardless of whether it takes up a half or full parking space.
  3. Similarly, a lack of detail on the exact location of the parking in the feasibility document drafted by officers does not lead me to find fault by the Council. The document was intended as a guide for officers. The document was intended to help officers’ understanding of the site and I would not expect it to be detailed as though it was intended to explain matters to a lay person.
  4. So, I do not find fault with the Council’s decision to locate the bicycle in its present location.
  5. However, it is evident Ms X writes about the detrimental impact on her father because of the decision. I agree with the Council’s conclusion that it could not have taken account of the impact before the decision was made on the location of the hangar. This is because it did not know about the impact. However, the Council is now aware of the impact. The Council now has to take account of these representations separately from its consideration of the matter through the complaints process. The Council has to consider the impact of its decision on a person’s disability in line with the requirements of the Equality Act 2010.
  6. Ms X will write separately to the Council to give a full account of the hangar’s impact on her and her father. The Council should consider her representations. It may be that Ms X has to apply for installation of a disabled parking bay outside her home or a personalised disabled parking bay if her father is eligible for one.

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Final decision

  1. I closed this complaint because I did not find fault by the Council.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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