FLINTSHIRE County Council has been told to apologise to the owner of a listed building for failing to take enforcement action over an unauthorised development which she claimed had rendered her home valueless.

The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, Nick Bennett, upheld most of the woman’s complaints against the council’s handling of the dispute but did not accept that the impact on her property was as great as she claimed.

The woman, identified in the Ombudsman’s latest casebook only as 'Ms X', said the authority had failed to consider the effect of the temporary siting of the portable building on her Grade II-listed property, had failed to take enforcement action for unauthorised work and shown bias towards the other parties because they were council tenants.

She also alleged that the council had failed to respond properly to her letters and emails of complaint.

The Ombudsman’s investigation found that documentation relating to the application for the portable building was “scant” and records of site visits and meetings were missing.

“The council could not provide clear reasoning as to why it had decided not to take enforcement action, although the Ombudsman found that it was reasonable not to do so while the application was in abeyance,” says the report.

While the authority had tried to regularise the application the matter had drifted on for two years, with no timetable set for the application to be validated.

He recommended the council to apologise to Ms X and ensure that the planning department learnt from the case.

He also called for a timetable to be drawn up to regularise the application, including what would happen if the timetable was not met, and to keep Ms X updated throughout.

Mr Bennett did not find that the council had shown bias in the case.