Thursday, December 22, 2011

The woolly thinking Local Government Omudsman

Council refuses to fork out £260,000 over homes row 

SOUTH Holland’s councillors have refused to pay out compensation of more than £260,000 relating to a controversial housing development or to accept a report accusing them of maladministration.

District council members unanimously disagreed with the findings of the Local Government Ombudsman, who had been investigating a three-year-old complaint into the authority’s actions with the Nestwood Homes development in Old Main Road, Fleet Hargate.

A special meeting was held on Monday to decide what action to take on the report, which recommended compensation be made to the developer for reasons including stress, strain and damage to reputation.

The long-running saga into the site started when new homes were built on a different land level to existing properties, which prompted enforcement action and a public inquiry.

He added: “It seems to me the Ombudsman was thinking somewhat woolily and was at worst biased in favour of this company and against our council unfairly in my opinion.”

Coun Bryan Alcock also raised concerns about the “strange” report.

He said: “I find some of the inflammatory way of talking within the report strange.
“I can recognise the style because it’s one I have used from time to time and that’s why I am not an Ombudsman.”

Councillors had been warned Nestwood Homes may choose to take action through the courts but Coun Francis Biggadike urged his fellow councillors not to be “afraid” if they did not accept the report.

“I believe the Ombudsman’s report was far from factual and not at all impartial,” he said.

Councillors voted in favour of receiving the report but said the council does not intend on paying any compensation.

My comment: Complainants are already aware that most reports by the Local Government Ombudsman are strange, far from factual and not at all impartial but it's interesting that councils are now supporting that view.

Read the full story from the source Spalding Guardian

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