In this is case we are talking about a London borough.

There is a sandwich shop in my area which is supposed to be open until 01:00 most days. However, they keep it open with the doors open and tables outside. The music from the shop is really loud and their client are shouting. It is impossible to sleep usually until 3.30 in the morning. The law clearly says no loud music, shouting is allowed after 23.00

I have taken videos and recorded the noise. I then complained to the council. It has been nearly two months and I have not seen any progress on the matter. The phone numbers (main one for later than 17.00 and the mobile one for specific hours on Fri-Sat-Sun) do not respond. I usually get redirected to the voicemail.

What can I do to resolve this? I got suspicious that the shop owners know people from the council and they skip away from it. The owners seem very ironic so do their clients. They laugh at you if you go and complain. The council has not taken any action so far and their unit never came to investigate.

a) Can I claim a compensation? I am paying the council tax and I have not see any progress so far. b) Can I leave the flat due to those circumstances? I will have to communicate to the agency and try to get my deposit back. I am not sure how that works as they will say (agency and landlord) that it is not their fault. c) How can I take the issue further as the council started ignoring me?

  • 6
    Who at the council have you contacted? If the relevant department is not responding, try contacting your local councillor(s). Jul 21, 2021 at 20:00
  • 16
    Just a tiny comment: London councils are incredibly understaffed, underfunded and overworked. They often simply do not have the manpower to deal with these things, so they ignore them. I am not trying to save them face, its terrible that the situation is such, but don't assume collusion when the likely reason is lack of manpower (or incompetence, if you wish). Jul 22, 2021 at 11:03
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    @AnderBiguri I should not care about that to be honest. I pay a huge amount towards the council and they cannot help me. People break the law and they are aware of the council's incompetence. That is 3:00 on Monday morning: twitter.com/apo_sisko/status/1417080737912836100 Jul 22, 2021 at 14:25
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    @Datacrawler I don't disagree with you at all, this was only a comment on your suspicions, which I believe will go away when Hanlon's razor is applied. I live near a police station in London, and they are quite noisy late at night too, who am I going to call? hehe. Good luck. Jul 22, 2021 at 15:00
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    If you ring the council at 2am when the noise is in progress, of course you will get directed to their voicemail. Do you really think they have staff to answer phone calls 24/7/365? If you want an immediate response, ring the police and tell them that from the noise you are hearing, you think there is a fight going on in the shop.
    – alephzero
    Jul 23, 2021 at 11:12

2 Answers 2


You can take action against the shop directly under the tort of nuisance.

The available remedies are damages to compensate for interference with your property rights, and injunction to require the defendant to cease the activity which is causing the nuisance.

You could also bring a judicial review action against the council if they refuse to investigate the noise. In England, Wales, and Scotland this would be based on Section 79(1)(g) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 which defines "noise emitted from premises so as to be prejudicial to health or a nuisance" to be a "statutory nuisance". Section 79 places an obligation on a local authority to "take such steps as are reasonably practicable to investigate" a complaint made by a person living within its area.

Section 80(1) requires that "where a local authority is satisfied that a statutory nuisance exists [it] shall service [an abatement notice]". Section section 80(4) provides that it is an offence to contravene an abatement notice.

Torts and judicial review are complex areas of law and you should seek legal advice if you intend to pursue either of these routes. The limitation period for judicial review is relatively short (3 months per CPR 54.5(1)), so if you are seeking legal advice, you should do so quickly if you have already approached the council.


How can I take the issue further..?

You can make a complaint, free of charge, to the independent Local Government & Social Care Ombudsman.

  • 5
    Is this likely to be any more effective than writing a strongly-worded letter?
    – Mark
    Jul 21, 2021 at 22:17
  • 4
    @Mark Yes. According to Wikipedia, although the Ombudsman's decisions are not binding on a local authority, their recommendations are followed in all but 1% of cases. More generally, some Ombudsmen have the power to bind (e.g. the Financial Ombudsman Service can make binding awards and can go beyond even the jurisdiction of a court in doing so), so such non-judicial remedies should not be too readily dismissed.
    – JBentley
    Jul 22, 2021 at 9:09
  • Worth pointing out though the risk that if you pursue only an Ombudsman remedy, you may run out of time (3 months) to apply for judicial review in the courts. According to the same Wikipedia article, the Ombudsman took longer than that in 54% of cases in 2004/5.
    – JBentley
    Jul 22, 2021 at 9:12
  • 1
    Note that to contact the ombudsman you normally have to first work your way through the council complaints procedure.
    – Stuart F
    Jul 23, 2021 at 14:51

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