Warrington Borough Council wrongly destroyed records that formed part of the statutory planning register, so that it had no records of plans and applications approved before 1996. The Ombudsman said she had grave concern that this represented a significant and very serious failure of corporate governance.
The Ombudsman’s investigation found that a senior planning officer who had since left the Council had arranged to destroy records forming part of the statutory planning register. As a result the Council has no record of the plans and applications approved in its area before 1996. Only the decision notices have been retained but, without the plans and applications, these do not record what has been approved.
The Ombudsman saids “It was an extraordinary and inexcusable act of maladministration for the Council to destroy records that it had a statutory duty to hold and make available for public inspection.”