Bolsover District Council appropriated land designated as public open space without following the right procedures, the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) has found.
The land was part of the council’s Sherwood Lodge headquarters.
The council said officers were unaware that the land had been designated public space in 1941 for a number of reasons, including that it did not hold records from its predecessor council. The council failed to advertise its intention to appropriate the public open space as required by law. This meant people could not object to changes in the way the land could be used in the future.
The report by the LGO found the council decided to appropriate the land for planning purposes during a meeting in which the public were excluded.
The council has been recommended to revise its Disposal and Acquisition of Land and Property Assets Strategy to include procedures on how to deal with land designated as public open space.
It should also apologise in writing to a woman who brought the case to the LGO, and offer her £250 to acknowledge her loss of opportunity to object to the appropriation.
Article date: 12 November 2013