Shortly after buying my property my local council built a “MUGA” (multi-use games area) football/basketball court at the bottom of my garden. I was unaware that the planning application had just been approved when I purchased.
We now have to put up with children and young adults playing at all hours with lots of noise (and other anti-social behaviour/break-ins). We have spoken to a local councillor who says she will look into mitigating the problems, but says it is unlikely to be moved since there was a four-year wait for it to be built after a campaign by residents of the social housing nearby. We have also spoken to an Environmental Health officer, as has a neighbour (although the officer appears to have lost a diary my neighbour was keeping!).
Is there anything we can do about this? I am concerned that the MUGA was a council initiative for some local residents (local councillors and the MP attended an opening ceremony, although we were not invited) and they may not be as keen to investigate as much as if it was a private property/facility making the noise.
You may be able to demonstrate interference with the personal comfort as an occupant of the property. There may still be the potential for demonstrating interference associated with use of the garden.
First the EHO should investigate fully as a potential statutory nuisance – they have a duty to investigate. There are also new anti-social behaviour powers that can be used against a corporation. However, who is reasonsible for the MUGA? If it is the Council’s they may not be able to take action against themselves using these powers (although the duty to investigate and determine still applies).
They also still have a duty to protect human rights. Best practicable means will apply in the case of statutory nuisance. You should first go via the Council’s complaints procedures before Ombudsman. You also have the option of taking your own civil claim or s.82 statutory nuisance action – however, be sure to have sufficient evidence first. Carry on gathering evidence and keeping log sheets – tedious, I know, but if you don’t you are ultimately likely to fail in any nuisance case. Information associated with the planning process may be illuminating – check their website.