What is a nuisance?
A nuisance is defined as "the unreasonable, unwarranted, or unlawful use of one's property in a manner that substantially interferes with the enjoyment or use of another". This includes smoke, noise, fumes, light, rubbish, animals and odour, etc.
The Council has to act within the constraints of the law and can only take legal action where the law applies and where satisfactory evidence exists. As with all legal matters the Courts have the final say in deciding what is a public health problem or a nuisance and how that should be dealt with.
What is expected of Torbay Council?
Torbay Council considers that the citizens of Torbay can reasonably expect:
- to be protected from significant loss of amenity due to public health and nuisance problems;
- not to be placed at significant risk from public health and nuisance problems;
- to have qualified professional staff available to assess these problems.
Making a complaint
Complaints should be made in writing, either by post or by email, to the Neighbourhoods team. The complaint should include who is causing the nuisance (with address) and how the behaviour interferes with your enjoyment of your property. It would also be helpful to state what action has been taken to address the problem and what the outcome was.
An investigating officer will contact you back within 5 working days of receipt of the complaint, (though in practice this is often sooner).
Investigation of complaint
Anonymous Complaints will not normally be invetigated.
The complainant will always be asked whether they have attempted to resolve the problem by other means.
In most cases the Council will send a letter to the person causing the source of the problem, this usually resolves the problem.
In cases where there is a potential public health problem, it may be more appropriate to make an initial visit to assess the problem, i.e. drainage or accumulations.
The complainant will be asked to keep a diary of instances e.g. bonfires, odour, etc. and their impact. This information will enable qualified staff to assess whether the legislation available can be applied to resolve the problem.
The complainant's anonymity will be respected by Council staff. There may be cases however, where the perpetrator will be aware of the identity of the complainant via previous discussions between the two parties or due to the prevailing circumstances.
Human Rights Act 1998
The Council will have due regard to the human rights implications of their activities and decision making while investigating complaints. Particular reference will be given to Articles 6, 8 and 14.
If you have any queries regarding the policy for dealing with general complaints and would like to see a copy of our noise policy please do not hesitate to contact us.
- Email: email@example.com
- Tel: 01803 208025
- Fax: 01803 208854