Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bus Station planning decision - West Community Council to seek advice from Planning Aid for Scotland

The West CC are still very concerned about the decision to build 16 flats on the Bus Station garage site. The words "done deal" could be heard in the discussion at their meeting last Wednesday night. Anyone that wishes to challenge the decision has to first make a complaint to the Council and let that process complete its course before approaching the Ombudsman.

Concern was raised that the flats were in the pipeline well before the planning committee met. 
Brian Stewart said: "Higland Council's housing strategy programme which they put into the Scottish Government back in July and August already had the proposal to build 16 affordable flats in the centre of Nairn."

The Westies are to seek the advice of Planning Aid for Scotland as to whether they have grounds to take their concerns further and make an official complaint.


APTSec said...

Readers may also find the following interesting:

Can a community council complain to the Ombudsman?

Section 5 of the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Act 2002 defines a ‘member of the public’. It says that we can only investigate complaints that are from a member of the public who claims to have suffered injustice or hardship because of maladministration or service failure by a relevant public authority. We took legal advice on this not long after the Act came into being, and were advised that a community council is not a ‘member of the public’ under the terms of the Act. More recently a Committee of the Scottish Parliament looked at the Act, and confirmed that a community council cannot complain directly to us.

So we do not accept complaints made by community councils on their own behalf. A community council may, however, act on behalf of a member of the public or help the person to complain to us, as long as we have the person’s written consent for the community council to act on their behalf.

APTSec said...

Following on from my last comment:

From the FAQ page

What can SPSO do about a decision that a public authority has taken?

A public authority is generally entitled to make decisions about issues in their area. These are generally known as ‘discretionary decisions’. If a member of the public complains to us that there has been administrative fault or service failure by the authority in reaching a decision, and that he or she has suffered injustice or hardship because of this, we may look at the complaint. We look at the process and procedures involved. If these were not properly followed we may recommend improvements, including appropriate redress. We cannot, however, look at the merits of the decision, with one exception - we can look at clinical decisions made by or on behalf of the NHS. If someone complains to us about a decision and they’re simply unhappy with it, we will not look at it. (There may be other routes through which they can challenge it, perhaps via the political process, or there may be some right of appeal.)

Please note that even if you complain to us about a decision, events happening because of it will not stop. For example, actions to close a school, or to collect debt that the council say you owe, would still continue. In some cases you may find that you have a separate right of appeal (for example if the decision was about your council tax banding, or on your planning application)...

Can my complaint make a difference?

Yes. Others may also share your experience and things may not improve if nobody complains. We can recommend changes to the systems that have led to your complaint. While we cannot force organisations to comply with our recommendations, history shows that they usually do.

See Putting Things Right for further information.

Anonymous said...

3fuonduIs this going to be another Aberdeen by-pass fiasco, taking 10 years and a few million quid to sort?