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latest update 12 March 2010

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Wirral councillors ordered back to ‘planning school’ after houses were built too close to a man’s home

Wirral News - by Liam Murphy

COUNCILLORS must go on a course outlining the basics of planning law after a developer was allowed to build a new estate too close to a man’s home.

Wirral council’s planning committee was officially criticised following an inquiry into the way an application was handled.

Beechwood resident Joe Gladman was left struggling to maintain his privacy because a new housing development was too close to his home, which then plummeted in price.

The properties should have been built at least 21 metres away, but were found to be only 18. The Local Government Ombudsman found the council guilty of maladministration and or-dered it to pay compensation to Mr Gladman.

A chartered surveyor estimated the loss in value at £20,000, but a district valuer’s report done for the council put the fall at £5,000, which has been paid to Mr Gladman. Committee members must also attend a day-long refresher.

Mr Gladman said: “It was not about the money, it was the principle and the way I have been treated.”

The LGO investigator’s report said there was “maladministration causing the complainant an injustice” and asked the council to settle with the complainant.

Mr Gladman was also paid £250 for “the time and trouble” he spent pursuing his complaint, which took three years.

Initially, the council claimed the new properties were 36m from Mr Gladman’s home – but when the distance was measured, it was discovered they were just 18 metres away.

Current planning committee chairman David Elderton said: “One can only regret that this one went haywire, and I am confident we are far more aggressive now.’’

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