…By Joseph Benjamin for TDPel Media.
A gardener named Malcom Starr, aged 73, is infuriated with what he perceives as “nimbies” who have reported him to the authorities for the noise generated by his lawn mower.
Frustrated by the situation, Mr. Starr believes that these complainants should find better things to do with their lives.
The council officials have notified him that an investigation is underway regarding the noise complaint, and they might visit his property in Holme-next-the-Sea, near Hunstanton, Norfolk.
They plan to employ sound-recording equipment to monitor the noise levels.
If the noise is deemed a “nuisance,” Mr. Starr could be subjected to a noise abatement order or face legal action.
Mr. Starr claims to be unaware of the identity of the person who reported him to the West Norfolk council.
However, his vocal nature in the village, where the prevalence of second homes has sparked controversy, has made him a well-known figure.
Last year, he and his wife Claudia faced legal threats from the same council due to an unauthorized sign advertising their holiday rental business.
In response to the current situation, Mr. Starr expresses his frustration, stating, “I feel like I’ve been grassed up by the lawnmower nimbies.
They should just get a life.
The only time I’ve cut even the lawn was on a Sunday a couple of weeks back.
I’ve said to the council it’s a very poor show, they want to get their facts right.”
Initially, Mr. Starr was uncertain whether the complaint pertained to his regular grasscutter or the ride-on tractor mower he uses on a neighboring four-acre field.
Officials have clarified that the complaint relates to the ride-on mower, which Mr. Starr claims has not been modified in any way.
He further suggests, “If it’s the field, perhaps they’d rather I built houses on it.”
The council’s letter informs Mr. Starr that he is being investigated for a potential violation of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which aims to protect individuals from noise disturbances.
While the legislation does not specify specific legal noise limits, officers are obligated to investigate if the noise is deemed “unreasonable” or significantly disrupts neighbors.
The council hopes to resolve the complaint through an informal solution, but if unsuccessful, further inquiries will be conducted.
The investigation may involve visits from officers to witness the alleged nuisance, or they may employ sound recording equipment at the complainant’s property to capture the reported noise.
Ride-on mowers typically produce noise levels of approximately 90 decibels.
In addition to the lawn mower complaint, the council has also informed Mr. Starr of a separate complaint regarding the storage of fencing and pallets on his neighboring land.
Mr. Starr explains that both issues are related to ongoing construction work on his house, which he has owned for a decade.
A spokesperson for the West Norfolk council stated, “When the council receives complaints about noise or planning enforcement matters, it has a legal obligation to investigate and cannot comment on these issues while they are ongoing.”