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What are the "retrospective" restrictions of s137?

0 votes
Hello, I am having an issue with my council at the moment about paying money to a local person, who paid out if her own pocket to have a nearby, footpath-encroaching hedge cut. The hedge doesn't belong to us, and the footpath is under the management of the local authority. I have been advising them against offering to reimburse the lady in question (it being an individual, who privately instructed work to be done on property that was not our responsibility etc). In theory, the only possible basis they could make the payment is under S137 claiming there was a wider benefit to the community (which I agree with, however, I still think it sets a precedent that we don't want to set).
Whilst I was l was looking up the S137 guidance I kept coming across identical wording on many many Parish websites saying "nor can it be made retrospectively" (which would end the conversation straight away). However, I can't find mention of this on any recent NALC briefing or within the legislation itself. My assumption, due to the identical wording, is that many PCs have used a template for their policy, but as I can't seem to find it, I wonder if this is actually obsolete.

Any words of wisdom?
asked by (120 points)

3 Answers

0 votes
You have answered your own question really.

No, it can't be retrospectively paid and it is not your land. If the lady wishes to be reimbursed then she should put a claim into the district/borough council, however, she'll have more luck digging for clouds.

It would be a nice gesture to reimburse her I agree, however it would set a precedent and just something that you don't want.
answered by (4.3k points)
Thanks Chloe; would you be able to point me in the direction of where it says this in the legislation/guidance? I'd like to just be able to quote something "official" and shut the conversation down.
Apologies it appears the legislation was updated to remove retrospectively from the books.
However, the amount to be spent must be commensurate with the benefit to the public i.e. Spending £10,000 on something only two people use would not be appropriate.
I'd also argue (unless proven otherwise) that the member of the public did not obtain three quotes to ensure there was a fair awarding of a job. Therefore if you are to give any money to the individual I would make it a contribution then create a policy to stop it from happening again. haha
That's what I thought; every policy I could see had "retrospectively" written in it, but couldn't find that anywhere "official". I am sticking to the "shouldn't" route, rather than the "can't" route then. And yeah, I think the fact that anyone can get their mate to do anything anywhere and then possibly expect us to reimburse them is not a good position it be in! Thanks Chloe
+1 vote
Putting the S137 issue on one side for a moment it’s the responsibility of the landowner to stop undergrowth obstructing a footpath and the Local Authority should have taken action under the Highways Act 1980
If the landowner refuses to comply the LA can do the work and recharge them
I can’t see why Parishioners money should be used to in effect subsidise the landowner
answered by (1.9k points)
+1 vote
The scope of Section 137 is defined in paragraph (3) as:

(3) A local authority may, subject to the following provisions of this section, incur expenditure on contributions to any of the following funds, that is to say—

(a) the funds of any charitable body in furtherance of its work in the United Kingdom; or

(b) the funds of any body which provides any public service (whether to the public as a whole or to any section of it) in the United Kingdom otherwise than for the purposes of gain; or

(c) any fund which is raised in connection with a particular event directly affecting persons resident in the United Kingdom on behalf of whom a public appeal for contributions has been made etc etc

It is only for donations to charities and other not-for-profit organisations or specific types of major appeal as defined in sub-para (c) above, which I have abbreviated.  Payments to individuals are not permitted.  The circumstances you have described do not fall within the scope of S137.
answered by (18.3k points)

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