Revealed: Wigan's 'nuisance neighbour' epidemic

Noise is the most commonn neighbour nuisance
Noise is the most commonn neighbour nuisance

Nuisance neighbours are sparking hundreds of complaints to the council but hardly any incidents have led to enforcement action.

Wigan Council revealed it received 1,047 reports of noise and 762 complaints about other irritating behaviour in the 12-month period between August 2016 and July 2017.

Will Blandamer

Will Blandamer

This is much higher than the figure recorded in a major study of nuisance problems which suggested the local authority received 718 statutory complaints in that same period, a slight increase on the 712 recorded between August 2015 and July 2016.

Few of these seem to lead to officers directly getting involved, with the researchers working on behalf of Churchill Home Insurance finding there was just one noise abatement order issued in Wigan in 2015-16.

However, the local authority said this was evidence that residents’ disputes could often be settled without the authorities wading in rather than suggesting the issue is not a priority.

Will Blandamer, assistant director for partnership, safeguarding and reform, said: “We would encourage people to be good neighbours and try to settle issues amicably first before involving ourselves or other public services. Often people simply do not realise they are causing a problem and the issue may be resolved once they know.

“It is a positive that we don’t need to serve notice as in many cases residents are solving these issues themselves.

“However, we do recognise anything which is excessive and unreasonable can adversely affect someone’s quality of life. It can also have a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing. We do encourage residents to report nuisance to us and we have a number of different measures we can take to tackle issues where a satisfactory outcome can’t be found for both parties.”

The council said residents should always try to discuss the problem with their neighbours if they feel it is safe to do so. It also encouraged anyone concerned about issues to make a log of dates and times.

Issues which the council can deal with as a statutory nuisance include noise, waste accumulation, premises or animals kept in poor condition, dust, steam and odour, smoke from bonfires and chimney, glare from lighting or insects associated with farms or sewage works.

The research, compiled using Freedom of Information requests, found noise was by far the biggest issue for North West residents, accounting for 38 per cent of all complaints to local authorities in the 12 months up to July 31 2017.