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News: Bound-to-fail planning application encouraged

The local government ombudsman has found “significant maladministration” in the way a council allowed an outline planning application where no planning permission was likely to succeed.

Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council’s decision to grant outline planning approval for a large detached house in a conservation area was seriously flawed, the ombudsman found.

Kirklees covers 161 square miles and stretches from the high moorlands of the Pennines (including part of the Peak National Park) around Marsden and Holmfirth in the west to the edge of Bradford, Leeds and Wakefield in the east.

The application for a large house sited in between two listed buildings within a conservation area was contested by the owner of one of the listed buildings and subsequently went to the ombudsman who found the council “actively encouraged” the applicant to take action that could not possibly meet legal requirements.

The ombudsman ordered the council to take advice from an independent expert and revoke the outline planning approval if the expert concurred.

It was not the only error the council made, said the ombudsman. There had been significant maladministration in a number of issues including not informing people owning land forming part of the application.

The council has been ordered to pay £500 compensation to one of the adjacent owners to compensate him for his time, trouble and distress.

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