Cornwall Council has taken more than 11 years to determine a man’s village green application, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.
The man first applied to the council to have a piece of land in his village considered as a village green in 2008, and therefore receive a certain amount of protection against future development, with the backing of 146 fellow residents.
Since then, the council has not held a public inquiry into the application, and has delayed making a decision.
The village green application remains undetermined meaning the land’s future remains unclear.
The ombudsman’s investigation found the council at fault for unnecessarily delaying the determination process and for not keeping the man updated on developments.
Michael King, Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, said:
“While I appreciate this particular application has been beset with complications, it nevertheless would have been good administrative practice to keep the man updated and informed about its progress.
“The man has been put to significant time and trouble over the past decade over the matter, and is now concerned that as several original members of his group have passed away, this will have an impact on the group’s ability to present evidence to any future inquiry.
“I welcome that Cornwall Council has now decided to hold a public inquiry into the case and hope this will resolve the situation for all concerned.”
The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman’s role is to remedy injustice and share learning from investigations to help improve public, and adult social care, services. In this case the council has been asked to make a decision on whether to hold a public inquiry, which it has now agreed to do.
It has also been asked to apologise to the man and provide him with a monthly update on the status of his application. It should also pay him £300 for the uncertainty caused and another £300 for his time and trouble in making the complaint to the Ombudsman.
Article date: 25 April 2019