'They ruined our lives': Noise complaints soar during lockdown


File photo of a person frustrated with a noisy neighbour. Complaints over neighbourhood noise rose during the coronavirus lockdowns, as people were largely confined to their homes. - Credit: Keith Whitmore

People being confined to their homes for long periods during the coronavirus lockdowns led to a surge of complaints over noisy neighbours.

There were 306 noise complaints made to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) from April 1 2020 to March 31 this year, an increase of 27.5pc on the 240 reported in the previous 12 months.

A council spokesman said they had received 172 complaints from March 31 to September 1 this year, which put them on track for a further increase, although winters tended to be quieter. 

A council spokesman said: "NNDC uses a range of available techniques to respond to noise complaints across the district, the majority are resolved by words of advice and an informal discussion between residents, we do however use more formal mediation if required."

The council served six abatement notices during the 2020 to 2021 period, up from zero in the previous 12 months.

NNDC has not served any abatement notices since March 31 - but they did seize some equipment on April 22 in relation to an earlier breach. 

One north Norfolk resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "I have a family member who is being driven crazy by noisy neighbours and this has been going on for nearly six months with no signs of it easing.

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"The noise consists of very loud music, constant door slamming, shouting and swearing and sometimes noisy DIY very late at night.

"I have heard of cases where this goes on for years and years without being resolved because some people know exactly how to outwit councils and housing associations."

Another resident said their family was forced to move due to a noisy neighbour.

He said: "These people ruined our lives. Anyone who believes that noise nuisance is 'a bit of harmless fun/I'll do what I want in my own house' has no conception of the destructive effect that their selfish behaviour can have on others."

Steven Williams, from Churchill Home Insurance, said: "As we go into more of a ‘new normal’, many of us will carry on working from home, at least part of the time, so noisy neighbours will continue to be really disruptive."