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.
24 February 2011