Three times more complaints lodged against Cornwall Council than any other unitary authority
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Campaigners have spoken out as latest figures show Cornwall Council has received more than three times more complaints than other unitary councils.
Between April 1 2012 and March 31 2013 the independent complaints body for local government authorities, the local government ombudsman, received 114 complaints from members of the public against Cornwall Council.
Between the same period the independent body received an average of 36 complaints against other unitary authorities.
Cornwall Council has admitted that this figure “appears high”.
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Out of the complaints submitted 40 per cent concerned planning and development issues.
Tony Hilton, acting chair of the charity Campaign to Protect Rural England Cornwall, said: “Cornwall Council seem to have one directive: build absolutely anywhere and everywhere. Is it any surprise that local people are questioning some of the decisions from officers up to the point of complaining?
“While it’s true that we do need some new housing, this level of complaints show that the council is getting it wrong and putting the wrong building in the wrong places.
“It’s right that people exercise their democratic voice and make themselves heard.”
Of the 114 complaints received, 72 have been upheld and are either under or have been investigated by the local government ombudsman.
A spokesperson from Cornwall Council has said that the number of complaints against them “appears high”, but it believes that formal investigations were only carried out by the ombudsman in 64 cases and it understands that 32 were not upheld, seven were partially upheld and 25 were fully upheld.
The spokesperson said: “The remaining complaints had either been sent to the ombudsman prematurely and were referred back to the council to go through our complaints procedure were considered by the ombudsman to be outside their jurisdiction or the ombudsman had decided not to initiate an investigation.
Cornwall Council has said that it is committed to providing the highest quality services to local residents and takes all complaints extremely seriously.
The council spokesperson added: “We have a very robust complaints procedure and always endeavour to try and resolve complaints through this process. We appreciate, however, that this is not always possible and co-operate fully with the local government ombudsman in respect of their investigations and arriving at a solution which deals with the concerns that have been raised.”