The London Borough of Hackney has been recommended to pay £11,000 plus legal costs by the Local Government Ombudsman after a series of planning errors forced the premature closure of a factory.
At the time the council acknowledged that its planning department was "in chaos", according to the official report into the events surrounding the complaint.
At the centre of this case was a long-established furniture-polishing business, run by the complainant from a single-story industrial unit with three and four-story buildings on either side, previously used as flatted factories or for warehousing.
First, the council decided to grant planning permission for the conversion of the building to the west of the unit. A developer wanted to convert the building into flats and workshops.
The complainant was notified of the plan and the proposed consent was subject to a legal agreement requiring the developer to undertake works to address pollution from the factory, chiefly fumes.
Subsequently, the development was implemented but without the agreement being signed, the works done or a permission being issued.
The council then considered a planning application for a similar conversion on the other side of the factory.
In granting permission for this scheme, the council failed to consider the impact of the factory or realise it was there.