Council planning condition was ‘not sufficiently precise’

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Scottish Borders Council has apologised to a member of the public who complained about the impact of traffic generated by a new development which was granted planning permission by the local authority.

The apology was recommended last week by the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) who investigated a complaint related to a condition which the council imposed in a bid to mitigate the traffic impact.

The complainer claimed the council had failed to investigate or act on his concerns that this condition had been breached and that the amenity of neighbouring residents was being adversely affected.

The ombudsman said the council had accepted there were “shortcomings” in how the planning condition had been framed which made it difficult to enforce.

“We took independent advice from a planning adviser who agreed the condition was not sufficiently precise,” reported the watchdog.

“The planning adviser considered that safeguarding residential amenity should have been cited as a reason for imposing the condition, as well as road safety.

“In light of the failings in drafting the condition, we upheld Mr C’s complaint.”

The watchdog recommended that SBC’s planning department, in conjunction with its roads team, should monitor vehicle usage at the development over the next three months.

“If road safety concerns are noted, the council should take appropriate action to resolve this with the developer,” stated the ombudsman.