Thursday, September 04, 2008

Council response to my noisy neighbours complaint

Response from Doncaster council about my noise complaint. Needless to say, they went to the wrong address. They seem to know where my address is when it's time to send the council tax bill. Also notice the poor grammar.

"I am contacting you with regard to your recent email relating to our response to your complaint.

The night time noise patrol service operates between 21.00 hours and 03.00 hours every Friday and Saturday evening with the exception of the Christmas period. The service is staffed my means of and Environmental Health Practitioner and an Enforcement Officer working together. As the night progresses complaints steadily build up and the calls are dealt with in the order that they came in. This unfortunately builds a delay into our response time. In order that we can be more effective we do ask the complainant to contact us back if the noise nuisance has stopped.

With regard to your specific complaint, I can advise you that I have spoken to the officers on duty that night and read the report logs for that night.

It would appear that the first discrepancy was with the address they had been given by the Police. The address given was ****. Quite some time was lost looking for this particular location. It was eventually assumed to be !!!!. The Duty Officer did attend at 01.35 hours and reported the situation as all quiet at that time.

I feel there is some confusion over the your comment that the Council would be contacting you the following day to update you with the events of the night. Where a client request further contact this can be arranged but it would usually be the following week not the day after as this would be a none working day.

In order to deal with a problem it usually necessary for the Duty Officer to visit the complainant's property to assess the noise nuisance. The officer did attempt to contact you but they assumed on the night that you had gone to bed as the music had stopped.

In conclusion I apologise for any inconvenience this situation has caused you and hope that we can be of service to you in the future."

Monday, September 01, 2008

Noisy neighbours

On the Saturday night of the bank holiday weekend we had a serious noise problem. Our neighbours across the way erected an immense gazebo in their garden, hired a DJ and started blasting dance music out from 6.30 pm on two speakers which I'm certain were illegal to use in a residential area. With my doors and windows shut and the TV on I couldn't escape the noise. After an hour I went round to ask them to turn down the volume just a little. About 20 houses look onto the noisy neighbours garden and several of our other neighbours had the same idea to complain. Unfortunately, the problem household couldn't hear their own doorbell.

Next step was to call the police. The dispatcher was very helpful and sympathetic. She explained that dealing with noise issues no longer fell under the police remit even if this constituted a breach of the peace (that's right, even if a crime had been committed). I was told that the council environmental health department would deal with it. I was told that someone would be sent out tonight and that I would be interviewed the next day, at the very least by telephone. I was very grateful when the police dispatcher offered to call this through on my behalf.

At 11.30 pm I got a call from a surly lady at the council. I explained to her that my neighbours were having a rave party in the garden and that everyone around was fed up. When she discovered that it was a one off incident and not a recurrent problem her interest in helping me vanished. She was mocking as she said someone would be out eventually and that they'd call me tomorrow and explain what action they had taken. In the meantime I was asked to call back if they switched the noise off because they were very busy.

At 1.30 am, with a pounding headache after seven hours of constant noise and with nowhere else to go to escape, I abandoned ship and went to see the Tinsley cooling towers demolition. When I returned at 4.30 am the music was still at full volume. The council had not been out. I fell asleep out of sheer exhaustion. The next day I was not interviewed or contacted in any way by the council.

My question is; what does a person have to do to get help from the authorities when such a blatant breach of the peace is occuring? And why did the council (who are funded to discharge this responsibility) do nothing at all to help myself and the people nearby who pay thousands and thousands of pounds in council tax each year?