Chorley council 'breached rules' over Rivington activity centre

First published in Rivington Chorley Citizen: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A catalogue of errors has been committed by a council, breaching its own rules when handling the planning application for an outdoor adventure centre.

The Local Government Ombudsman responded to complaints about handling of the plans for the Go Ape activity centre within Lever Park, near Rivington.

The Ombudsman found six separate instances of mal-administration by Chorley Council in its handling of the lakeside development, which opened in March, after complaints by the Friends of Lever Park Group.

The issues included failing to comply with its own statement of community involvement, not keeping records of meetings, and failing to notify adjoining landowners.

Permission to build on the 3.2 hectare site was signed off by council officers without a wide consultation and the plans were not considered by councillors at committee.

The report said: “Had the application been considered by a committee, members of the public would have been able to make representations in person to the decision makers, and had the errors and omissions not occurred, the citizens who complained would not have been put to so much trouble.”

Bob Dootson, who has led an 18-month campaign on the matter, accused Chorley Council of serious breach of trust and called for the auth-ority to revoke its decision.

He said: “There has been serious damage caused to public trust by the number of serious errors committed by Chorley Council.

“This is not finished yet and someone needs to be found accountable.”

Donna Hall, the council’s chief executive, said: “The Ombudsman has not found the planning decision for Go Ape to be wrong, however there are procedural issues we need to tighten up.

“But we stand by the fact that the planning decision was the correct one.”

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