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Watchdog urges more action over Durham cowshed cause célèbre

Published: Thursday, 28th July 2016

Further report issued by the Local Government Ombudsman on Durham cowshed planning complaint and the subsequent recommendations…

The Local Government Ombudsman has issued a further report into a planning complaint against Durham County Council.

The LGO issued its initial report on the complaint in February 2012, in which residents complained about the way Teasdale District Council considered planning applications to build cowsheds on farmland. The report was issued against Durham County Council as the successor authority and contained a number of recommendations for actions the council needed to take.

The further report puts on record the Ombudsman’s position since the original report was released. It confirms that there are still outstanding actions that the council needs to take in response to issues raised in the original complaint. The council has been given three months to confirm what action it intends to take to comply with the outstanding recommendation.

The LGO said it was satisfied that since the 2012 report the recommended level of financial redress had been or would be made to residents, and that the wrongdoings had been investigated and action taken.

However, it was not satisfied in relation to the third outstanding recommendation requiring an independent assessment of the impact of the unrestricted use of the two existing agricultural buildings; the likely impact of the third building that has planning permission; and what measures could be taken to reduce that impact.

The watchdog had argued that the council should consider whether to remove or amend the planning permission for all three buildings.

The Ombudsman said this hadn’t been done. “The council needs to formally demonstrate and consider what action it should now take to seek discontinuance of, or the imposition of conditions to, or revocation of, the three planning applications granted with fault in January 2006, January 2008 and July 2010 in accordance with the recommendation made in the 2012 report.”

View the LGO report

Roger Milne