Peak Park pays £35K compensation after blunder wipes thousands off home

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The Peak District National Park Authority has paid out £35,000 in compensation after a planning blunder wiped thousands of pounds off a resident’s home.

The authority’s audit committee recently approved the payment to a former Rowsley resident after a recommendation from the Local Government Ombudsman.

The issue arose in 2012 when a neighbour of the complainant submitted a planning application for an extension to their property, which was approved.

But the resident believed the authority had not followed it’s own policy in approving, and so complained.

Former Chief Jim Dixon did apologise and offered to pay £500 in compensation, but the complainant claimed their property had been devalued by around £100,000.

After exhausting the authority’s complaints procedures the resident took the matter to the Local Government Ombudsman who found in favour of the resident.

The ombudsman ordered the authority to appoint a valuer to assess the diminution value of the property.

She concluded the blunder had devalued the property by £35,000.

In reaching her decision the inspector found the planning department at fault.

The inspector concluded: “The authority failed to consider material planning considerations, apply its own planning policies or consider separation distances and the overbearing impact on a neighbouring property when granting planning permission for an extension. This was fault. The complaint is upheld.”

Director of planning for the Peak District National Park, John Scott, said the authority accepted the Ombudsman’s findings and has since made changes.

He said: “We accept we did not directly consult the owner of the adjoining property, although we did publicise the application in the local press and with a notice on site. We will pay compensation and apologise to the complainants.

“We don’t want this to happen again and have already changed how we deal with planning applications of this nature, specifically how these relate to neighbouring properties and about how we ensure we are being consistent in applying our policies.”

A spokesperson for Peak Park Watch, who look into matters concerning the authority, said: “We also believe that there are a number of other residents with similar complaints against the authority for maladministration and incompetence which may lead to the authority being forced to pay further large sums in compensation if found at fault.”