Advice Mid Wales

Bro Ddyfi Advice Centre

Community & Neighbourhood Problems

Some of the most distressing and difficult-to-resolve problems are disputes between neighbours or within a community. Feelings run high and may have been building up over weeks or years as people try to defend their property or quality of life. Anger or fear can make direct negotiation difficult or impossible. Problems include noise, litter, gardens, parking, pets and children. In extreme cases there may be criminal behaviour or damage requiring the intervention of the police and courts but most often the situation can only be resolved by the parties understanding each other and agreeing to compromise. Our trained advisers help clients talk through the problems to see them from different angles and understand the implications of different courses of action. We then help develop strategies for approaching the neighbours, ideally to improve the situations without further damage to the relationships.

CASE STUDIES

The following are examples of how we helped two the Bro Ddyfi Advice Centre clients with their problems. Because our service is strictly confidential, we have changed their names.

  • Megan and Dai have lived in their house in a quiet residential street for 20 years. A younger couple has moved in next door and play loud music which can be heard through the bedroom walls late at night when Megan and Dai want to sleep. They don’t see much of the newcomers who go out early. Megan and Dai find their appearance more frightening than fashionable and prefer to avoid contact. By talking to the Adviser Megan and Dai learned that they could complain directly to the Environmental Health Officer who may provide them with monitors to see if the noise exceeds legal limits but they would be asked to approach the neighbours first. This could be done by going round or writing a letter. With encouragement from the Adviser, Megan and Dai decided that they would try a friendly call on the neighbours to discuss the matter and had a few practice conversations to give them confidence. They subsequently found out that the neighbours were unaware there was a problem and offered to wear headphones or turn the sound down after 11pm.

  • Mr and Mrs Jennings and their two young children had just moved into their new home and were horrified when their next-door neighbours came home from holiday: parents, two teenagers and two Rottweiler dogs. There was a 6ft high fence separating the properties but the dogs barked and hurled themselves at the fence when anyone walked past and they were worried about the safety of their children. The Jennings had thought Rottweilers were prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act but the Adviser’s research showed that only four breeds of dog were illegal and that Rottweilers were not one of them. However, the law also stated that all dogs must be under control in a public place, if necessary with a muzzle. Also, if the Jennings thought the dogs were not securely fenced they should contact the police; if they felt the dogs were being mistreated they should contact the RSPCA and if the noise of the barking became a serious nuisance they should contact the Environmental Health Office of the local Council. As these were evidently family pets it seemed that there was no greater risk of them being aggressive than of any other dog, large or small. The Jennings were advised to make low-key contact with their neighbours, explain their concerns, check that the fence was secure and, if appropriate, consider introducing their children to the dogs.

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