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Category : Environment and regulation > Noise

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 21 Mar 2013

Summary

The Ombudsman criticised Derby Dales District for failing to tackle noise problems from a business, owned by a former Councillor.

The complaint

The Ombudsman criticised Derby Dales District for failing to tackle noise problems from a business, owned by a former Councillor.

It meant that local residents suffered night-time noise issues in some form since 2007.

The report by the Ombudsman upheld the complaint that the council failed to act quickly enough to start abatement action against the business during 2011 and 2012.

This came after a previous complaint from the same residents, in late 2010, where an investigation found that the council had not taken effective action to resolve similar issues since 2007.

That investigation was ceased when, in response to the complaint, the council pledged to resolve any outstanding noise problems by summer 2011. The report found that it failed to do so and the complainant suffered an additional two summers of disturbances.

Dr Jane Martin, Local Government Ombudsman, said:

“The council failed in its duty to take sufficient action against a persistent problem, but as a result of our investigation the complainants have seen an end in sight to their distress.

“Our role is also to support the efficient local resolution of complaints and I find it disappointing that the previous complaint was not fully resolved as pledged. However, I expect that Derbyshire Dales will comply with the recommendations and avoid similar issues in the future.”

Recommendations

The Ombudsman recommended that the council apologise to the complainant and pay them £1,820 for the inconvenience caused from the additional summers’ noise. This figure amounts to £10 per night during summer (June, July and August across two years), as the council has assessed that the noise amounts to a statutory nuisance only when the windows are open.

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