Council told to pay neighbours for not telling them about plans for a bar next door

A council has paid a couple £750 after it failed to consult them about a pub that was being opened next to their home.

Cherwell District Council was ordered to pay compensation to the Bicester couple that said they were not asked for their views on the new venue, given planning permission in October 2017.

FAQ in Market Square, Bicester. Photo: Google

FAQ in Market Square, Bicester. Photo: Google

From online council documents, it would appear the new pub was Frequently Asked Questions, in Market Square.

That applied for planning permission to use a former shop as a pub in April 2017 and was granted it that October.

The couple said they had never been asked about the new pub but that it now intrudes on their home.

They complained to the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman that it causes reduced light, noise problems and a lack of privacy.

When Cherwell council approved the plan, it said it had received no comments from neighbours either in support or opposing it.

Initially, it said it sent two letters to neighbours asking for views about the new pub in the months leading up to planning permission being granted.

But the first was returned to the council – because postage had not been paid – in June 2017.

The authority said later this was because of a ‘printing error’.

Another letter was sent out about the pub’s application that August but the complainants said they never received it.

Frequently Asked Questions has installed a smoking shelter and a fence about two metres from the boundary of the couple’s property.

The council asked the pub to submit a retrospective planning application – but that has yet to be done, according to the ombudsman.

The ombudsman said Cherwell council had ‘caused injustice’.

The authority has paid £600 to reflect the impact on the couple’s ‘amenity’ from when the pub first opened.

It has also paid them £150 for taking the time to complain.

A council spokesman said: “Following the report, the council has written to the residents to apologise for the errors made.

“The council is working with them, their landlord, and the owner of the pub to find an effective solution to ensure their living conditions are protected.

He added: “This work continues as a matter of urgency.”