Ombudsman finds fault with Wakefield Council for handling of revised garage plans

A government watchdog has found fault with a West Yorkshire council for failing to properly assess amended plans for a garage redevelopment and for taking too long to respond to a neighbour's complaint about it.

Wakefield Council's offices. Pic: Anders Hanson, Flickr
Wakefield Council's offices. Pic: Anders Hanson, Flickr

The Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman has upheld a complaint by a resident against Wakefield Council about the way it determined an application for a garage development on a neighbouring property.

The ombudsman ruled in favour of the resident, known as Mr Y, who claimed the council failed to "assess in sufficient detail" plans that moved the garage closer to his home. 

The resident said the council "failed to properly consider the impact of both sets of proposals on Mr Y’s residential amenity through overlooking and loss of light". 

The complaint also claimed an "unreasonable delay" by the council in responding to his complaint, stating that "officers did not notify Mr Y of the receipt of amended plans, thus depriving him of an opportunity to object to these".

According to the ombudsman’s report, the neighbour's application was for the conversion of a coach house to form a "residential annex" and the partial demolition of an existing dwelling and erection of a two-storey double garage.

While Mr Y did not object to these proposals on initially being notified in December 2016, the ombudsman found that a later amended version of the application, filed three months later, moved the development closer to his property than originally stated. 

Mr Y claimed he had not been given an opportunity to comment on these amended plans as before.

The council’s planning committee approved the revised application in December 2017.

Subsequently, Mr Y filed a complaint to the council in January 2018, which was referred to the ombudsman whose report was made in June but only published last week.

However, the ombudsman ruled that he did "not consider that the council caused significant injustice" to Mr Y in the way in which it assessed the application.

Planning asked Wakefield Council for a comment but it had not responded by the time of publication.

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