Council refuses to pay compensation to couple

Posted: 18/05/2012

Essex County Council is refusing to pay a sum of £18,000 to a couple whose house has been devalued by £30,000 because of a waste transfer station on their doorstep.

The waste transfer station was the subject of a significant report by Watchdog 6 years ago, which found that the other council involved, Epping Forest District Council, gave incorrect advice that the waste transfer station has an established use. Essex County Council then granted a licence to build the station without taking satisfactory steps to ensure the advice was correct.

Residents from two households complained in 2006 which sparked the report by Watchdog that concluded by compensation being awarded from both the district and county council of £15,000 and £100,000.

However, it has not been so easy for the third resident, who complained about the noise disturbance in 2009. An independent valuation was carried out on the property which revealed the house had de-valued by £30,000. Epping Forest District Council has paid the couple £12,000 in compensation but Essex County Council are refusing to pay the remaining £18,000.

This has caused the Local Government Ombudsman to take action who originally issued the report in 2006 which highlighted the planning errors of the two local authorities. Now the Local Government Ombudsman has published a second report recommending that Essex County Council should pay the remaining 60% of the compensation. A spokesman from the Local Government Ombudsman spoke to the Planning Portal and said, ‘There is no justification for treating them differently to the two other residents who have received loss of value payments.’

The reply from the county council was, ‘The council acknowledges the Ombudsman's report and will consider if the conclusion is one it agrees with. The arguments put forward by the county council against the payment were very strong but it will now decide if the final conclusions of Ombudsman change this. The council will only make a financial payment in line with the recommendations if it is satisfied that the council was in fact responsible for any financial loss suffered or if there are other strong reasons why the compensation should be paid.’

Do you think Essex County Council should pay the couple compensation or do you believe that it’s too late to demand compensation now?

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd
www.paliltd.com

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