March 7 2014 Latest news:
Lizzie Dearden, Reporter
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Residents are still waiting to receive full compensation from Redbridge Council for the misery caused by a bungled planning application, five years after the saga started.
The council has accepted findings in a damning report by the Local Government Ombudsman that it was at fault allowing a 4m high extension at Apex Primary School, in Ilford, to tower over homes.
But compensation for the stress caused by fighting the application and thousands expected for loss in value to properties has yet to be paid.
Permission was granted for the building in April 2009 and work began in July 2011 at the Islamic independent school.
Three residents with properties backing on to the school, in Argyle Road, complained they had not been properly notified and the huge wall blocked light and devalued their homes.
The ombudsman found the council’s actions had “caused injustice” and ordered compensation for the loss in properties’ value for two residents and £100 for the “time and trouble” caused to all three complainants.
Nigel Harris, a friend of claimant Syrie Peters, said: “If Redbridge Council really did regret the situation, surely it would by now have paid the compensation the Local Government Ombudsman had ordered it to pay.
“How much more will it now pay all three complainants for months more “time and trouble”?”
The report, published in August, found catalogue of errors, including officers failing to follow the council’s own planning policies and failing to update records.
A response from the planning department accepted all recommendations and said and “appropriate letters and cheques” for the £100 would be sent to the complainants by the end of November.
The report, presented to the council’s cabinet, added: “It is evident that the officer’s report did not address the potential impact on the adjoining neighbours at all or the impact on the character of the area.
“There is no evidence that the amenity neighbours was considered […] or why the proposal was acceptable.”
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes backed residents through years of complaints.
He said: “I am increasingly concerned about Redbridge Council’s failure to deal with unauthorised development and breaches of planning rules.
“It is extremely frustrating for local residents that the council seems unwilling or unable to act to enforce its own decisions.”
A council spokesman said the district valuer’s office had been contacted to organise valuation of the two affected homes before compensation can be paid.