Ombudsman rejects complaint against �1 million playground because complainant doesn’t live near enough to it

A LOCAL government watchdog has dismissed complaints by a Wisbech man about the �1 million Waterlees adventure playground because they claim he lives too far away from it.

“I appreciate that children may walk down the complainant’s street to access the playground but I do not consider this causes the complainant sufficient injustice for me to investigate the matter,” says a report from the Local Government Ombudsman.

The report follows complaints by UKIP candidate Alan Lay that the playground has not been properly run and has broken planning conditions.

However the ombudsman says Mr Lay lives on a side street and some distance from the playground and as his property “is not adjacent to the park I cannot see how he is directly affected by the presence of the playground. It does not seem to me that the matter complained about causes the complainant significant personal injustice, i.e. it affects his amenity in his own home.”

The ombudsman says they can only investigate complaints about the council’s actions and not the merits of the planning decisions.

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“This means that the ombudsman looks at the way in which decisions are taken and does not criticise the decisions themselves, unless there is evidence that there was faults in the way they were reached,” he says.

The ombudsman says they are unable to consider complaints from other residents unless they get in touch- and they haven’t.

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Mr Lay claims others “are so frightened that they will not complain. One has had a large window smashed and another attempted arson in his front garden.”

He says the ombudsman’s offer to other residents to get in touch using an on line form was meaningless.

“The complaint form is only on the web,” says Mr Lay. “That’s hardly very helpful for the elderly who have no knowledge of it and are afraid anyway to make waves.”

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