Noise and other nuisance issues
Wrexham County Borough Council
Mrs M complained that the Council failed to take action to mitigate noise from the property neighbouring hers. She wanted the Council to fund and arrange the installation of carpeting, underlay and soundproof boarding, which she understood had been done in other properties with similar issues with increased sound transmission.
The Ombudsman found that the Council had investigated the noise but that it did not constitute a statutory noise nuisance. The noise was the result of normal family activity from the neighbouring property, although it was unfortunately more audible for Mrs M because of the age of the properties and the original materials and practices used when it was built. In the absence of a statutory nuisance there was no obligation on the Council to take action, although underlay and carpets had, since Mrs M complained, been installed in the neighbouring property.
There was also no duty on the Council to provide soundproofing for private property owners and this was not a public service that it provided. However, the Ombudsman found that an email sent to Mrs M had unreasonably raised her expectation that such provision might have been available to her. The Council agreed to apologise for not clearly or directly addressing and rectifying this misunderstanding and to provide feedback to relevant staff on the importance of ensuring that communications with service users and complainants is clear and does not raise unrealistic expectations before services have been agreed.