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SCOTTISH OMBUDSMAN BURIES GRAVE OBJECTIONS

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A district council was guilty of maladministration in requiring a resident to get planning permission to be buried ...
A district council was guilty of maladministration in requiring a resident to get planning permission to be buried in an unmarked grave on his own land, the Scottish Local Government ombudsman has ruled.

Commissioner Robert Peggie found that 'considering the unusual nature of the proposal' Kincardine and Deeside DC could not be blamed for asking the resident to submit a planning application.

However, the council was at fault in not telling the complainant he could apply for a s51 determination. This would have allowed him to test the council's position that his burial proposals constituted a material change of use.

The case was complicated by the fact that after winning planning permission, the resident had successfully appealed to the secretary of state for Scotland against the council's interpretation of planning regulations.

His subsequent complaint to the Commission for Local Administration in Scotland was that Kincardine and Deeside refused to return the planning fee and associated costs.

'I can understand Mr A's sense of grievance at having gone through a process which was ultimately found to be unnecessary', Mr Peggie's report says. 'He incurred related costs, suffered inconvenience and attracted publicity which he might well have wished to avoid'.

But the nature of the case meant it was likely the complainant would have had to bear some costs anyway and contend with an element of publicity, he said.

Kincardine and Deeside was ordered to contribute £150 towards Mr A's costs.

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