More than 4,000 noise complaints made in Ipswich since 2011

Grafton House, the Ipswich Borough Council building in Russell Road

Grafton House, the Ipswich Borough Council building in Russell Road - Credit: Archant

Less than 6% of the thousands of noise complaints lodged in Ipswich over the last four years resulted in action being taken against the offender, new figures have revealed.

Since 2011, 4,386 reports have been made to Ipswich Borough Council because of loud music, barking dogs, crowing cockerels, people shouting or singing, burglar alarms, noisy cars and DIY work.

According to statistics, obtained under Freedom of Information laws, only 234 of these reports have resulted in a fixed penalty notice being handed to the noise-maker.

The ward that has seen the noisiest neighbours over the past four years is Gipping with 513 complaints, followed by Alexandra at 506 then Bridge with 438.

Peter Gardiner, borough councillor for the Gipping ward, said: “I suppose one of the reasons [for the number of complaints] is that we have a very mixed neighbourhood in terms of the type of housing that’s there and one or two neighbour disputes sometimes turn into complaints of noise, but it might not be noise that is actually behind it.”

He said in order for a fine to be handed out, the nuisance had to be witnessed by either a police officer or an environmental inspector.

In the first instance, the complainant would be asked to keep a log of the noise, Mr Gardiner said. If the problem continued the officer would go to the property.

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“Sometimes it’s just neighbour against neighbour but there has to be sufficient evidence to stand up in court,” he added.

Mr Gardiner has been a councillor for the Gipping ward for 15 years and he said in that time he had only received three or four complaints from residents about noise disturbance.

But he said the council was looking to increase the number of hours that environmental officers were available to monitor noise nuisance reports in the town.

“We found that we were very stretched at getting out to provide residents with reassurance into the late evening,” he said.

The figures show that the biggest nuisance caused to residents in Ipswich is loud music, amounting to 43% of all grievances recorded since 2011.

Out of the 184 complaints made so far this year, 114 are still open and 23 cases have not yet been resolved from last year.

In 2011, 49 out of the 951 noise reports resulted in a notice being served; in 2012, 68 of 1,206; in 2013, 49 of 1,050; last year 65 of 995 and out of the 184 complaints so far this year, only three have ended in the culprit being fined.