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200 unresolved noise complaints accumulated by council during the pandemic

Calderdale Metropolitan District Council accumulated a backlog of 200 unresolved complaints about noise during the pandemic, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman has found.

Ombudsman Michael King said this arose during an investigation into a woman’s noise complaint about a neighbouring property.

She said she and her partner had suffered unbearable noise and vibrations from the loud music, and waste on the site was attracting vermin.

Noise logs were sent to the council but without adequate action being taken.

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The council told Mr King that during the pandemic it had received a large increase in noise complaints, while staff were affected by shielding and self-isolation. It had also been changing the way its teams investigated complaints.

Mr King said: “While I understand the unprecedented pressures councils were under during the height of the Covid-19 situation last year, they still had a duty to pay heed to the principles of good administrative practice, and communicate appropriately with the woman about her concerns.

“The council’s service was beset with a number of issues, including failing to log some of her complaints, and when it did look at her concerns, its investigations were delayed.

“I am pleased the council has accepted my recommendations and has already shared the learning from our investigation within the council.”

Deputy leader Jane Scullion said: "We have contacted the resident to offer our sincere apologies for the way we handled her complaint, and for the distress this has caused to her and her partner.

“We are committed to providing the best possible service to all our residents. During the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, our resources have been focused on keeping people as safe as possible from Covid-19. We accept that we made mistakes with this complaint, and the service which this resident received did not meet our usual high standards.”

Cllr Scullion said a new logging system was being developed. The backlog of noise complaints had been reduced and all complainants had been contacted.

Mark Smulian

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