Arun District Council
Compass Point (Bognor Regis) Management Ltd
£2,500 fine; £170 victim surcharge; £20,000 costs
Environmental Protection Act 1990
This case hinged on a heavy-duty rolling gate to a block of 24 flats – and the thunder-like rumbling from it that could be heard throughout the flat above. The gate was used by all residents at all times of the day and night. The resident had brought the issue up at the flats’ AGM but the estate agent (closely linked to Compass Point) effectively told them nothing would be done. So the resident called Arun’s EH team.
The EH team visited the flat and agreed that there was a statutory nuisance. This was not what the agent wanted to hear, and they wrote to EH officer Fiona Fitzgerald telling her that they would “appeal any notice [the council] served”. Fitzgerald served the notice anyway – and the agent changed the wheels on the gate, which did nothing to help the noise. Compass Point didn’t appeal the notice, the noise continued, and so the council decided to prosecute.
“Given the attitude of Compass Point, I don’t think there is anything I could have done differently,” Fitzgerald says. “We were delighted with the outcome and chuffed about the costs – ours came to about £23,000 so we pretty much got them back. But I still wish they had listened to me in the first place.”
And has the gate been silenced? “Yes and no,” she says. “Compass Point has put a timer on so it is allegedly disabled between 11pm and 7am, but I am not sure this is actually happening.” The case – and the gate – rumble on.