Neighbourhood disputes go to mediation
RESIDENTS in Crawley made more than 30 complaints against their neighbours last year which required the intervention of a mediation service.
The figures were released by charity, West Sussex Mediation Service (WSMS), which is used by organisations such as Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council to provide help to residents struggling with noise or anti-social behaviour in their neighbourhoods.
WSMS said 38 referrals were received in Crawley by the charity last year, of which seven concerned issues with noisy neighbours.
Other complaints included harassment, verbal abuse, damage, repairs, parking, fence disputes, boundary disputes, injunctions, inheritance and inter-family issues.
Nick Handley, service co-ordinator for WSMS, said issues with noisy neighbours was becoming a problem across the county, which according to the Environment Protection Agency, affects 1 in 100 people.
Nick said: “Of the 38 referrals we had in Crawley last year, seven related directly to noise nuisance.
“Noise is a factor in a number of other cases, whether several issues are evident in a dispute.
“We normally see the percentage of noise referrals at about a third of all referrals.”
The charity released the figures ahead of Noise Action Week which encourages communities to become aware of the importance of doing things a bit quieter, and highlights ways to solve noise disputes.
Nick said: “The stress from noise nuisances affects one in 10 home owners, but many noise problems can be resolved by just being more considerate to your neighbours by reducing sound levels at appropriate times, whether that be the stereo, the washing machine or the vacuum cleaner.
“Complaints of noise nuisance extend to barking dogs, slamming of doors, and children shouting.”
Noise Action Week ends on Friday (May 25).
WSMS, based in Horsham, offers mediation services for free to West Sussex residents. It gives impartial advice and dispute solutions where people talk through their problems openly and in confidence with experienced mediators.
The aim is to encourage individuals to find their own solutions to every day problems.
If you need the charity’s help log on to www.wsms.org.uk
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Sunday 19 May 2013
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