Chichester District Council taken to the ombudsman by Tangmere

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ACCUSATIONS of ‘endemic maladministration’ at Chichester District Council have resulted in a parish council contacting the ombudsman.

Tangmere Parish Council has spent the past months discussing an alleged loss of more than £200,000 in developer contributions because it says the district council ‘failed in its duty’ to negotiate section 106 contributions for the community.

“We’re seeking compensation from Chichester District Council for failing to do their job,” said Tangmere Parish Council chairman Andrew Irwin at a meeting on Thursday.

Councillor Phil Thomas added: “It seems to me there’s never ever any accountability. No one’s ever held responsible for anything that happens.”

The parish has reported the matter to the ombudsman after months of discussions between Chichester District Council and Tangmere Parish Council.

The matter was officially discussed a year ago by the district council’s corporate governance and audit committee, which met on November 29, 2012.

At the meeting, Tangmere’s district councillor Simon Oakley told the committee he estimated the village community had missed out on £232,000 from developers that could have gone towards Tangmere leisure facilities.

The applications in question are TG/07/04577/FUL, which was for the erection of 102 homes in the village, and TG/08/01390/OUT for 160 homes. They date back to 2007 and 2008.

Tangmere said it believed the ‘list of failures’ by CDC represented an ‘endemic maladministration’ of the significant role the district played.

The district council has said any sums requested by the district would have been largely negotiated away by the developer – a position Tangmere has refuted.

The district council’s report said it appeared for both applications, no requests for contributions were received from the leisure and tourism offices – and therefore no money was allocated.

Email correspondence has been ongoing since January of this year between the parish and the district council’s chief executive Diane Shepherd, as well as executive director for home and community Amanda Jobling.

The latter said, because some of the proposed recipients for the fund had now been financed from other grants from the council, the parish had little to complain about, as it might not have received the grant if it already had the section 106 contribution.

In a letter sent to the parish by Amanda Jobling, she said: “I am more convinced than ever that the claim for a compensatory payment would not succeed in law and, as previously indicated, would be susceptible to challenge.”