Planning and building control - Incorrect action taken

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You should know
  • If you are the developer and your issue relates to a planning application decision, you should direct it to the Planning Inspectorate
  • The Local Government Ombudsman is there to assist in issues relating to (for example) the administration of the planning process, the conduct of staff, the way that an issue was dealt with, or the implementation of the law, such as inaccurate information about procedures
  • You must give the local authority up to 12 weeks to resolve your issue before escalating the case to the ombudsman 


What if the issue is not addressed?

If you feel that a complaint about a local planning service has not been dealt with correctly, you have the right to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman. 

The ombudsman can get involved with your case when the complaint has been open for more than 12 weeks; it is there as the last resort.

It will usually investigate complaints where the evidence suggests that there has been a service failure that directly affects you, and where your complaint is about the way the council has dealt with (or failed to deal with) the matter.

The Local Government Ombudsman will independently assess your complaint for free, and can make recommendations to the council.


What will the Local Government Ombudsman look for?

When you escalate an issue to the Local Government Ombudsman, it will consider whether the council has done something wrong in the way that it went about dealing with a report of a planning breach. For example, the council might have:

  • Unreasonably delayed assessing whether there is a breach of planning control;
  • Unreasonably delayed deciding how serious the breach is, and what action is appropriate;
  • Unreasonably delayed taking enforcement action where it accepts that it is justified;
  • Failed to keep proper records, such as on site visits;
  • Failed to have a written policy on planning enforcement, or failed to take its policies into account when deciding what action to proceed with;
  • Failed to tell the parties involved of its decision, or to keep them informed of progress;
  • Or failed to liaise properly with other departments, such as environmental health or building control.

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