On the 31st May 2019 a complaint against Broxbourne Borough Council was finalised and the complaint was upheld. This complaint was in relation to the late overnight works for High Leigh Garden Village.
Summary: Mr Y complains about the Council’s decision not to enforce against breaches of planning control at a development site close to his home. The Ombudsman does not uphold this part of the complaint because the Council was entitled to resolve the breaches informally. Mr Y also complains about the Council’s decision to grant permission for noisy works under Section 61 of the Control of Pollution Act. The Ombudsman finds fault because the Council approved the application without visiting the site and noting errors in the measurements. This meant the developer was not required to install additional acoustic barriers, and so Mr Y suffered more disturbance than necessary for eight nights in total. The Council will apologise and pay £150 to Mr Y.LGO, 31st May 2019
I find fault with the Council for approving an inaccurate S61 application. It is obvious from the records the Council only noticed the error once Mr Y had pointed it out. We know the Council would have allowed the works irrespective of the distance being 107 or 170 metres, because it allowed the works once the true distance was known in October. However, the Council did then insist on extra acoustic barriers, but only four days after the works started.LGO, 31st May 2019
The fault in approving an inaccurate application, and a failure to visit the site before works started both in July and October, meant Mr Y suffered avoidable injustice. Although the Council did not identify a statutory nuisance, its visits only took place after the developer installed additional barriers. Therefore, I consider it is likely Mr Y suffered extra disturbance for eight nights in total during July and October 2018. I am mindful that, thankfully for Mr Y, this phase of works was not significant in duration. The injustice he suffered was not prolonged, although I am aware from Mr Y’s noise diaries that he experienced disturbed sleep and headaches. The Council has agreed to apologise and pay Mr Y £150 to reflect the distress caused by its error.LGO, 31st May 2019
Were you affected by these late night works?
If you were affected by these works in July 2018 or October 2018 then you may have a valid complaint with the council. You should contact the council directly to find out if you are eligible for the same level of compensation awarded in the upheld complaint (£150.00).
If you are not happy with the councils response and have completed the councils complaints procedure then you may lodge a complaint with the LGO: https://www.lgo.org.uk
Broxbourne Borough Council complaints procedure: https://www.broxbourne.gov.uk/council-council-information/complaints-procedure
You should act quickly and start the complaints procedure if you have not already. Complaints can only be lodged with the LGO since 1 year from when they occurred.