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Bonkers Blog September 2013

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2 September (Part 1) - Neighbour from hell

There can be few things worse, within a domestic setting at least, than constant noise from a neighbour. Long ago I lived in a flat from which I could hear every intimate noise from the couple above and when I graduated to a semi found myself at the opposite end of the argument. For me, Sunday was a day for DIY and my neighbour believed it was an excuse to stay in bed until the afternoon. Since then the likelihood of noise problems has been a significant factor for me when choosing a place to live. The end of my cul-de-sac could hardly be more peaceful without returning to my country roots. Others are not so lucky.

A couple of months ago an occasional correspondent said…

I've just had a very interesting conversation with the emergency duty officer at the council. I'm currently suffering from a very serious noise disturbance. I rang the council who put me in touch with 101 [police] who could not care less. I was passed back to the emergency duty officer, having been told it is one hundred per cent the council's responsibility to deal with noise complaints. The poor officer informed me that he was inundated with noise complaints at the weekend. “There is a huge number of them, well, noise complaints naturally occur at the weekends, don't they?” the officer presumed.

“However, the council saw fit to cut environmental health cover at the weekends”, he said. I gather nobody has listened to him on this, he was keen that I raise it with the powers that be.

Sunland AvenueIt must be hell for those affected, some people have no consideration and feel that non-stop riotous parties are their right. Another occasional correspondent who lives in Sunland Avenue, a little south of Broadway and Crook Log, has the same problem and been in frequent contact with the Environmental Health people since the end of last year at least. He was asked to log the noise nuisance but Environmental Health then appeared to lose interest. (A possible reason will become apparent later.)

As the weather heated up so did the noise nuisance and the police became involved but this neighbour from hell was no respecter of other people’s rights, he retaliated by building a wall to block out the affected neighbour as far as possible. Unfortunately that neighbour was not at all pleased to see the wall was built right up against his detached house - on his land! This was a step too far for my correspondent and on 18th April he hand delivered a letter of complaint. It was ignored, so my correspondent sought the assistance of a solicitor.

The solicitor wrote on 31st May and his letter was ignored too. He wrote again on 2nd July with the same result and with patience fast running out wrote another letter on 9th August, recorded delivery of course, and that too fell on stony ground.

The next stage is the engagement of a builder to remove the offending wall. A fourth solicitor’s letter has been sent to confirm exactly what is proposed…
…and as you can see it is a model of reasonableness and politeness. However it firmly reiterates the fact that the trespass must be reversed.

Some neighbours evidently think they can do whatever they like, just like some Bexley councillors do. But that is no coincidence. This neighbour is a Bexley councillor! Not one you know much about, he has been barely mentioned on Bonkers but is one of the eleven who believes he is under threat from Bexley residents. He hides his address under the provisions of Section 32 of the Localism Act.

I’m tempted to use Olly Cromwell’s epithet from when he pictured an unidentified councillor’s house and ask “What sort of…”. Oh, perhaps not. Incidentally, Olly moved back to the borough over the weekend after a two year absence. Maybe we will see him in the council chamber again.


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