Planning Portal

 
  1. News and blog
  2. News and Blog
  3. 2011
  4. February 2011
  5. 24 February 2011
  6. Ombudsman criticises council over ‘extortionate’ price for small strip of land

Ombudsman criticises council over ‘extortionate’ price for small strip of land

Barnsley Council has been criticised by the Local Government Ombudsman over its decision to raise the price of a narrow strip of land it had agreed to sell a woman for her extension – effectively valuing a small triangle of land, seven inches at its widest point, at £4,000.

The watchdog found maladministration against the local authority after a resident asked Barnsley Council to sell her a narrow strip of land along the side boundary of her home. She was building an extension and wanted the land to use as a path to the front and back of her home. The council agreed to sell the land for £2,950.

Before the sale was completed a council officer visited the resident and decided that her extension was being built onto a small, triangular part of the strip it had agreed to sell to her. The officer told that the land would be revalued and that she might have to demolish the partly-built extension.

The council decided that the small triangular piece of land that it believed the extension was on had a greater value to the resident than if she were just using it for a path. It said it now wanted £7,000 for the narrow strip of land – effectively valuing the small triangle of land, 20cms or 7inches at its widest point, at £4,000. The watchdog called this valuation “extortionate”.

The Ombudsman recommended the council should remedy the injustice by transferring all the narrow strip of land to her without cost, paying her £1,500 in recognition of the distress caused to her and paying the costs arising from the delay to completing her extension.

Read the Local Government Ombudsman news report.

Roger Milne

24 February 2011