A council in Wales has been ordered to pay a resident £3,500 compensation for failing to take adequate action against an unlicensed car wash.
The Public Services Ombudsman for Wales ruled that maladministration on the part of Flintshire County Council resulted in years of “persistent and intrusive” disruption to a resident.
He said the resident suffered “significant injustice” after being exposed to unacceptable levels of noise and water spray over a five-year period.
The report finds that Flintshire County Council failed to take timely and appropriate action to deal with the car wash, which was causing statutory nuisances of noise and chemical and water spray. It also concludes that the council failed to give due consideration to the resident’s right to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of his home, as set out in the Human Rights Act 1998.
Commenting on the report, Nick Bennett, Public Services Ombudsman for Wales, said: “It’s concerning that, despite identifying in 2014 that the car wash was causing a statutory nuisance, the council did not open an appropriate case file until 18 months later and did not serve an abatement notice for a further 13 months. When the car wash continued to operate and cause the statutory nuisance, in contravention of the abatement notice, the council took no further action.
“It is also worrying that despite the council being aware from at least 2012 that the car wash did not have appropriate planning consent, it held almost no planning records from before August 2018. The lack of records coupled with inaction over the five years preceding this date suggests that the council did not adequately consider whether to take enforcement action against the car wash, which amounts to maladministration.”