Wednesday, March 27, 2013

How NOT to oppose a Planning Application III

Here’s an interesting story published in the Daily Telegraph last week. Here’s a link to the online version.

click on image to enlarge

What has happened here is that someone has made a representation on a planning application which contained libellous allegations and it was published on the local council’s website. This has resulted in a legal case where the victim of the allegations has successfully sued the publisher (the Local Council) as well as the person who made the allegations. We do not know how much the council is having to pay but according to the Telegraph report the Baronet has now received a "very substantial" sum totalling "many, many thousands of pounds". Fair enough. Justice has been done.

However, lets have a look at the repercussions. The fact that the council is having to pay the Baronet “a substantial amount” means that their financial position, already weakened by the financial crisis and austerity, is further weakened jeopardising its ability to put in place procedures and human resources to address the very problems that allowed this situation to occur in the first place and to try to prevent it happening again in the future.

The point here is that it is not the council who are paying out to the Baronet, it is the local Council Tax payers, which presumably includes the Baronet himself. The absence of this money in the council’s bank account means that either services will be cut even further (which was probably the cause of the problem) or Council Tax will have to be increased.

The moral of this story is this: if you make a representation on a planning application, make sure there is no libel in it, because if the council gets sued you are not going to be very popular with your neighbours when their services are cut and/or Council Tax increased as a result.


  1. 691 trolleybus fan6:36 pm, March 27, 2013

    Making a dick of oneself, so to speak.

  2. Interesting point here. Who REALLY pays when hospitals, police forces and similar public organisations are fined thousands and in some case, millions, of pounds for inefficiencies or misdemeanours of one kind or another? One guess only, folks!