North Ayrshire Council’s SNP Cabinet will this week consider a proposal to scale-back the Out of Hours Service that deals with complaints of noise nuisance.
In 2005 the local authority joined with councils in
East Ayrshire and South Ayrshire to deliver a county-wide Out of Hours
Noise Team. In a 12-month period officers dealt with over 1,000
complaints of noise nuisance in North Ayrshire alone.
initial Scottish Government direct-funding for the initiative ended in
2009, with the three councils then required to meet the cost from
overall mainstream funds. As a result, the service was reduced in 2012
from four nights a week to just Saturday and Sunday nights. Between
April 2013 and February 2014 the Team recorded 306 complaints in North
Ayrshire (6 or 7 each weekend).
The current review of operations
has been prompted by the decision of South Ayrshire Council to withdraw
from the all-Ayrshire service as of April 1st. This left North Ayrshire
Council with the options of attempting to run a joint service with East
Ayrshire or to go it alone.
In a report to be considered by
Cabinet members, Mr Craig Hatton, Corporate Director (Development &
Environment), proposes a reduced service for North Ayrshire acting on
its own. Mr Hatton’s recommendation to councillors calls for “A North
Ayrshire stand-alone service responding where there is a history of
nuisance on known days and times”. However, if implemented, the revised
service will react only to “repeat complaints from the public”. There
will be “no immediate call out service to the first complaint made by
members of the public”.
The Corporate Director suggests “The
public will register their complaint with Environmental Health and they
will be given advice on how Environmental Health can help with their
problem. Arrangements will be made to measure the noise levels and
agree further action.”
By reducing the service to the public, Mr
Hatton estimates the Council can save in the region of £15,000.
According to the senior official, “The move to a North Ayrshire only
service will have the benefit of being supported by only local Officers
and the move to targeted interventions will mean complaints being dealt
with more efficiently.”