This fact sheet is aimed primarily at people who believe the council has failed to take account of a listed building when dealing with a planning application and may be considering making a complaint to the Ombudsman.
The council has not properly taken into account the fact that a building is listed when considering an application for planning permission. Can the Ombudsman help me?
- Yes, in some circumstances, although we cannot overrule the council's decision to grant or refuse permission. Councils have a duty to have special regard to the desirability, in the public interest, of preserving listed buildings or their settings or any features of special architectural or historic interest they possess.
- If you believe the council did something wrong when it determined a planning application affecting a listed building, you can complain to us.
- We may consider complaints from local or national amenity/conservation groups and individuals who believe the historic or distinctive environment near their home has been lost or damaged, or threatened with damage or deterioration.
How do I complain?
- You should normally complain to the council first. Councils often have more than one stage in their complaints procedure and you will usually have to complete all stages before we will look at your complaint.
- Then, if you are unhappy with the outcome, or the council is taking too long to look into the matter – we think 12 weeks is reasonable – you can complain to us.
- You should normally make your complaint to us within 12 months of realising that the council has done something wrong.
- To complain to the Ombudsman phone our helpline on 0300 061 0614 (8.30am to 5.00pm, Mondays to Fridays). You will be able to discuss your complaint with one of our advisers. You can text us on 0762 481 1595.
- You can complete an online complaint form.
If you can consider my complaint what will the Ombudsman look for?
We might find that the council:
- failed to take into account the setting of a nearby listed building when granting planning permission
- failed to take enforcement action where work affecting a listed building was carried out without listed building consent
- failed to enforce conditions subject to which listed building consent was granted, or
- failed to follow the correct procedure – for example, councils must notify English Heritage and other national amenity groups when they receive applications affecting exceptional listed buildings (Grade I and II*) or their settings. There are more extensive notification requirements within Greater London.
What happens if the Ombudsman finds that the council was at fault?
It depends on the fault and what the consequences are for you. We can recommend that the council takes action to put the matter right. Depending on the effect upon you, we may ask the council to:
- pay for remedial work or screening if that will reduce the harm caused, or
- pay compensation if remedial work is not possible, and
- improve procedures so that the same problems do not occur again.
Examples of some complaints we have considered
Other sources of information
Useful information about the process of listing and listed buildings generally can be found at https://historicengland.org.uk/listing and
the Department for Culture Media and Sports website at www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-culture-media-sport
If you are unhappy about the way your application for listed building consent has been dealt with please see our fact sheet on complaints from planning applicants.
Our fact sheets give some general information about the most common type of complaints we receive but they cannot cover every situation. If you are not sure whether we can look into your complaint, please contact us.