Noisy neighbour complaints surged in coronavirus lockdown, figures reveal
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Complaints about noisy neighbours soared as people found themselves largely confined to their homes during coronavirus lockdown, figures have revealed.
Figures obtained using the Freedom Of Information Act, comparing the weeks after lockdown started on March 23 this year to equivalent weeks last year show how complaints to councils went up.
In Norwich, in the weeks between Boris Johnson’s announcement that people should remain at home, up to the week starting June 22, when groups of up to six people were allowed to meet outdoors, there were 364 complaints.
That was a 75pc increase on the number of complaints in the comparable weeks in 2019, when there were 208 complaints.
It led to the city council issuing three community protection warnings and one community protection notice - which could have led to fines or court if the anti-social behaviour did not stop.
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Complaints went up from 125 to 160 in Broadland, while in South Norfolk they shot up from 95 to 191. In Great Yarmouth, the number of complaints actually dropped, from 114 for the comparable weeks in 2019 to 93 for this year.
A Norwich City Council spokesperson said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had an impact on almost every aspect of our lives, and this includes our interactions and relationships with our neighbours.
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“For the most-part, we’ve all heard many stories, or been personally involved in cases where communities have really pulled together and looked out for each other, many have found a new situation where they’ve got to know their neighbours better.
“While it’s true, we’ve seen an increase in reports of noise nuisance, and while of course frustrating for those involved, the numbers are low, considering, and reflective of the general sentiment of people looking out for one another.
“People who’ve found they’re at home much more while so many others are too, have found it quite a different experience, and in some cases a challenge.
“And this has been further compounded while people have been dealing with understandable stress and concerns – worries about loved ones, their own health, work, the economy.”
The city council provides a mobile phone app which allows people to record and report noise and the spokesperson said: “Sometimes, when people have reported what they feel to be a nuisance, working through the evidence they’ve gathered via the noise app, and setting out what is deemed to be reasonable levels of noise has helped and in other cases, letters explaining to neighbours the situation has resolved the issue.
“In some instances mediation has played a valuable role and so very few cases have needed any enforcement action.”