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How the Council will deal with your complaint

The complaints process explained.

Food inspections

Before you contact the Council

As long as it is safe to do so, you should firstly try to politely speak to the person (or organisation) that is causing the problem. Although you may find this difficult, it is surprising how often people are unaware of the problems they are causing. It is important to stay calm and to simply explain the effect the nuisance is having on you. Pick a time where you think you are both able to be reasonable about the situation. The Citizens Advice Bureau provides useful advice how to approach your neighbour.

If this doesn't solve the problem, then contact the Council by emailing or by calling 01354 654321.

We cannot accept anonymous complaints as we may need your support to gather enough evidence to take formal action (and you may need to give evidence if a case comes to court).

What happens when the Council receives my complaint?

After receiving your complaint, the Council will give you information explaining the law and our procedures. You may be asked to keep a diary (for 14 days) of the dates and times the problem occurs, how long for and the effect it has on you. This must happen as the events that place, and not after the event. It would help if you could provide as much detailed evidence as possible to prove the extent of the problem.

The Council will then review the diary to understand if there is a statutory nuisance, and monitoring may then be required to gather further evidence. At this stage, the person making the nuisance will be informed about the complaint and will be asked to get in touch with the Council so the problem and evidence from the diary sheets can be discussed further. The Council will explain that the alleged nuisance may be monitored, but will not disclose the details of the person who has complained.

If it is proven there is a statutory nuisance, the Council will either seek an informal resolution or issue an 'abatement notice' - a legal notice that requires the person to stop the nuisance. If the problem still continues, we will attempt to collect evidence to prove the abatement notice has been breached, and if proven we can take them to court. At the stage, you and other witnesses may need to provide a statement and give evidence in court.

Taking your own action

If the Council cannot gather enough evidence to take action or cannot help, you can take private action against the person responsible for causing the nuisance. You might want to consider mediation, which may help you to resolve the complaint with the other person where initial talks have failed. As a last resort, you can take your complaint to the Magistrates Court. It is quite simple to do and you do not need to employ a solicitor.