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F E Smith
F E Smith, Advocate
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10387
Experience:  I have been practising for 30 years.
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I believe i have a contract with Lancashire county council

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i believe i have a contract with Lancashire county council who agreed to my having a crossing and car parking at the front of my property. I have letters asking for the fees which were paid and accepted with time lines given and before i started my contractors on my own land .
the work by myself and the county council has been done but they now say their engineer has measured up wrongly and i am 10 centemeters too short so they are not going to allow it now ! He was aware of this discrepency but did not inform me and since has intimated that he thought it would be ok as he used common sense as has happened in the past. within walking distance from me and with very little effort i have counted 22 houses with obviously short parking spaces. In law do I have a contract ? and has a president been set.

This is presumably a dropped curb and crossing over a grassed area or suchlike.

Is the work now finished and they now want it all demolishing and reinstating to how it was?

How long ago were all the others in the area done?

How much fee did you pay and have you had this refunded?

How much has the work cost you, including the fee, to date and if it were to be reinstated to the satisfaction of the council, how much would that cost?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
the work is finished i do not know about dates for other properties though i think 1 was in the past 12 months.the fee to L C C was 171 for the H bar marking and 756 for the crossing which is over the tarmaced pavement. The council would reinstate there pavement but how much to build a new wall and landscape i do not know. The job for me was done for 750 by a local gardening contracter well known in this area. They are trying to insist that i demolish my front bay window which would cost a great deal not to say rebuilding and decorating, The house is in a Victorian terrace and would look out of place and probably be detrimental to the property and value. they are arguing over 10 centimeteres which they accepted . they acknowledged receipt of payment on the 29th April.No they havnt refunded money yet but Craig did tell me that would be the case should i accept I don t think I should

I thought this was about a crossover and parking. What has the bay window got to do with it?

For there to be an agreement, there needs to be an offer and an acceptance and consideration. All those 3 things apply here and hence there is an agreement. However, with regard to the 10 cm (4 inches) it depends whether that breach would make this illegal or not. The reason I mention that is because it’s not possible to legally enforce an illegal contract. It seems highly likely that what they are referring to are guidelines rather than hard and fast law because if it was hard and fast law, they would have to do exactly the same thing to everyone else which it appears they are not. On a different legal point in your favour, they in effect promised that you could do this and you relied on that promise to your detriment and therefore, under the legal doctrine of Promissory Estoppel they cannot go back on that promise.

If you have already been dealing with this in writing, you need to make sure that you follow up any telephone calls in writing from now on.

Firstly, you need to make a formal complaint to the council about the way they are dealing with this on the way you are being singled out whereas others are being left alone.

You need to make the point that they have taken your money and told you that you can go ahead with this and are now saying that you can’t for the sake of a few millimetres.

You need to tell them that if they attempt to put this back as it was, you will make an emergency application to court for an injunction to prevent the work going ahead pending the resolution of your complaint and you will ask the court to costs against the council.

That if this complaint is not resolved in your favour, you will make a further complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman. The beauty of the Local Government Ombudsman is that it is risk free because it’s no cost and the local government ombudsman does have the power to make the authority do what it says.

These complaints will have more weight if the letter comes from a solicitor.

If the complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman fails, then you are faced with applying to court for judicial review of the decision to take action against you in respect of this work when they had already given consent and take the fee. You can only do that on the grounds of illegality irrationality and procedural impropriety and this certainly fits in with the last two. It doesn’t necessarily change the decision but it makes the council revisit the decision and how it was made and they would have to be very brave to come up with the same conclusion in the light of this evidence.

There is something you can do that is to write immediately to the Chief executive of the local authority by name. This is not a complaint letter, it is an appeal for help against a completely illogical decision which is likely to cost you and the local authority a lot of money for no reason. These appealing letters to the person at the top of the tree can be very successful.

Can I clarify anything for you?

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Best wishes.


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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thankyou for your reply I have been away till this friday but put your points to and an appeal to the chief excutive which is in the post. Today i have received yet another letter quoting B S Standard 8300:2009 The Building regs 2000: Approved Document M Aceess to and Use of Buildings 2006 which L C C have adopted. IT also claims that an error was made over the measurement but the surveyor new he was 4" short and still approved the application
Could you please advise whether I should reply threatening court injunction or wait till I here from the chief excutive.A further letter was enclosed from the area highways manager banning me from crossing the pavement to access my new drive.