Gloucester City Council (22 012 725)

Category : Environment and regulation > Antisocial behaviour

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 17 Jul 2023


Key to names used

  • Mr and Mrs W The complainants


Mr and Mrs W complained the Council failed to properly investigate their complaint about an alleged noise nuisance in their business property, caused by a neighbouring business. As a result, they say they have suffered frequent intrusive noise while they are at work, causing them distress and, in some cases, to lose business.


Fault found, causing injustice, and recommendations made.


The Council must consider the report and confirm within three months the action it has taken or proposes to take. The Council should consider the report at its full Council, Cabinet or other appropriately delegated committee of elected members and we will require evidence of this. (Local Government Act 1974, section 31(2), as amended)

To remedy the injustice identified in this report, we recommend the Council:

  • write a formal letter of apology to Mr and Mrs W, acknowledging the frustration they have suffered, and the uncertainty caused by its poor handling of the investigation into their allegations of noise nuisance;

  • offer to pay Mr and Mrs W £250 each, for the same reason;

  • if it receives any new complaints of nuisance about the business in question, it should start a fresh investigation, approaching it as it would an investigation of nuisance affecting a residential property; and

  • circulate guidance to all relevant staff highlighting and correcting the factual errors we have identified in this case, which include that:

    • a statutory nuisance can be suffered in a non-residential property, and the law does not limit this solely to residential properties. Therefore, when someone alleges they are suffering a statutory nuisance in a non-residential property, officers should approach it in the same way as a complaint about a residential property;

    • creating a statutory nuisance, in isolation, is not a criminal offence, and so it need only be proved to the civil standard to warrant serving an abatement notice. It is the breach of an abatement notice which constitutes a criminal offence; and

    • section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act concerns statutory nuisance, not common law nuisance.

The Council has accepted these recommendations.

Ombudsman satisfied with the Council's response: 9 October 2023

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