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Ombudsman criticises district over handling of industrial noise complaint

Daventry District Council failed to tackle an industrial noise complaint properly because it did not take account of all the evidence presented.

That decision has come in a report from the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman, which said the council should set aside £3,600 either to compensate the complainants or to use for noise mitigation.

The dispute arose on a new development of some 200 homes, where the ombudsman was asked to investigate concerns about how Daventry dealt with a resident’s complaint about the council’s handling of the case.

An adjacent industrial estate produced noise from vehicles, loud speakers and shouting at unsocial times.

Ombudsman Michael King found the council’s decision to close its noise investigation was wrong as it did not take proper account of all the evidence gathered during its investigations – including from its own officers.

This was despite one officer finding the homes were “not in a state reasonably to be lived in”.

Instead Daventry took into account “unproven assumptions or irrelevant factors in making its decision”, for example assuming without evidence that the complainant and his wife must have an undue sensitivity to noise.

Mr King said:“We do not know whether the council can now do anything to prevent the noise the family and their neighbours have repeatedly contacted it about, but there is enough evidence to suggest this might be possible.

“I am therefore disappointed that, despite making repeated efforts to get the council to agree to remedy this complaint, it has repeatedly refused to acknowledge its faults.

“I now call upon Daventry District Council to carry out my recommendations and work with both experts and local residents to see if there are measures that can be put in place to mitigate the problems these people face.”

A Daventry spokesman said: “Councillors will consider the ombudsman’s report and the council’s response to it at the meeting of full council on 20 February.”

Mark Smulian

Fraser Public Sector 600

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