Flintshire County Council
Mr A & Ms B complained about flooding at their home which they said was caused by an adjacent supermarket car park (and contributed to by run off water from neighbouring properties). They believed that the Council had owned the land upon which the car park was constructed, and so should bear responsibility for the drainage issues.
The Council noted that it did not own it and could not involve itself in private landowner matters. Later, on advice from its legal department, it agreed to consider the matter under its common land management powers given some evidence of historical ownership. This would involve liaison with the water authority to agree and implement an infrastructure improvement plan, which would take time.
Owing to jurisdictional constraints, the Ombudsman could not get involved in private landowner issues or determine liability for flooding problems. The water authority is also not within his jurisdiction. However, the Ombudsman sought the Council’s agreement to the following in order to provide clarity for Mr A & Ms B, and as an alternative to investigating complaint handling aspects of the complaint:
• The Council to use its best endeavours to commit to seek a resolution of the flooding issue (engaging as necessary with the water authority and relevant third parties) as soon as practicably possible.
• The Council to provide Mr A & Ms B with 6 weekly updates.