Probe into planning oversight’ at council

AN internal investigation is to be launched at South Cambridgeshire District Council after a misplaced court order landed the council with a £500,000 compensation bill. Cambridge County Court awarded the compensation to Colin Bird of Reed Cottages, Cambou

AN internal investigation is to be launched at South Cambridgeshire District Council after a misplaced court order landed the council with a £500,000 compensation bill.

Cambridge County Court awarded the compensation to Colin Bird of Reed Cottages, Cambourne, after he claimed a delay in the planning process meant his home in Sawston was repossessed.

However, SCDC says the case was only found in Mr Burl's favour because the council was unaware of the court proceedings and were therefore unable to defend themselves.

Mr Burl blamed SCDC for a delay in the planning process which he says meant he could not sell the bungalow in Dale Wale, and it was eventually repossessed.


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He took the council to court asking for compensation for the loss of his home as well as attendant costs and aggravation, claiming the planning department delay cost "a perfectly valid planning application".

It is thought the bungalow, which was built on the site by Mr Burl, was larger than the building that had been approved by the council and had therefore breached planning rules.

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Council leader Cllr Ray Manning told The Hunts Post it was "a simple case of human error".

He added: "The papers were delivered to the council but unfortunately it was not appreciated that the bundle contained a County Court claim form and the matter was not brought to the attention of the legal team. People make mistakes and this was just an oversight."

The council is now set to appeal the case on September 13 and say they will not be paying Mr Burl a penny.

Cllr Manning added: "The council rejects the claim and is filing an application at Cambridge County Court to have the judgment set aside and the claim struck out. We are confident we will win."

An internal investigation is also to be launched to prevent this happening in the future.

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