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Crawley Borough Council (19 015 390)

Category : Environment and regulation > Noise

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 25 Feb 2020

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: Mr X complained the Council did not take sufficient action to deal with noise from shops next to his home. He also complained the Council should have warned him about issues with noise before he moved into the property. We will not investigate this complaint. It is unlikely we would find fault in the Council’s noise investigation, and the Housing Ombudsman deals with complaints about the Council’s role as a social housing provider.

The complaint

  1. Mr X complained the Council did not take sufficient action to deal with noise from shops next to his home. He also complained the Council should have warned him about issues with noise before he moved into the property. He says the noise has had a significant impact on his mental health.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. We provide a free service, but must use public money carefully. We may decide not to start or continue with an investigation if we believe:
  • it is unlikely we would find fault, or
  • there is another body better placed to consider this complaint.

(Local Government Act 1974, section 24A(6), as amended)

  1. We cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. We must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3), as amended)
  2. We cannot investigate complaints about the provision or management of housing let on a long lease by a council acting as a registered social housing provider. (Local Government Act 1974, paragraph 5B, schedule 5, as amended)

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I considered the information Mr X provided when he complained to the Ombudsman.
  2. I gave Mr X the opportunity to comment on a draft version of my decision.

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What I found

  1. Mr X complained to the Council in 2018 about the noise from shops next to his home. The Council asked Mr X to complete a noise diary, which he returned to the Council with details of the noise and its impact. The Council also wrote to the shop owner about potential nuisance and negotiated with them to change their delivery times so lorries were not arriving too early in the morning.
  2. The Council explained to Mr X it could not take action against normal daily activities where they did not amount to a statutory nuisance. Mr X had not complained of early morning deliveries since it had negotiated with the shop owner, and daytime deliveries were not unreasonable.
  3. Mr X has explained the level of distress he has experienced due to noise. It is particularly distressing for him due to his mental health. However, we cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. We must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. The Council found no evidence of a statutory nuisance after investigating the noise. It considered the evidence Mr X sent when coming to its decision. If we investigated Mr X’s complaint, it is unlikely we would find fault in the Council’s actions.
  4. The Council has considered options to move Mr X to a different property. Any issues with this are for the Housing Ombudsman rather than the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, as they would relate to the Council’s role as a social landlord. This also applies to Mr X’s complaint the Council should have told him about potential noise when he viewed the tenancy.

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Final decision

  1. The Ombudsman will not investigate this complaint. This is because it is unlikely we would find fault, and the Housing Ombudsman is best placed to consider
    Mr X’s complaint relating to the Council’s role as a social landlord.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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