It is a scenario many people dread.
Just as they drop off to sleep, the sound of thumping music can be heard from next door, someone starts DIY drilling in the early hours, a dog barks incessantly, or the TV blares out so loudly every word of Love Island can be heard.
Disgruntled residents across Blackpool have complained about noise nuisance more than any other problem, according to new figures.
Inconsiderate neighbours habitually playing loud music, or creating disturbances, have made people angry and fed up enough to register their complaints as a ‘statutory nuisance’.
And the number of those complaints lodged with Blackpool Council is shown to be the second highest in Lancashire over the past two years.
The authority received 1,357 nuisance complaints in 2015/16, and 1,182 in 2016/17, with rubbish the most common complaint in 2015/16, and noise the most common in 2016/17.
Inappropriate noise is increasingly becoming the number one nuisance in other areas too, while Blackpool Council now vowing to take action if the circumstances merits it.
The usual penalty is a fine of between £300, and £5,000 in extreme cases.
Barking dogs, regular loud music or noise, alarms going off, DIY work at unreasonable hours, or loud noises from TV or radio are complaints in which officers in the resort can act. But they can’t act on anonymous complaints, over babies or children crying, one-off events such as a party at a neighbour’s house, children playing ball games, road, rail or flight noise, or normal domestic noise from vacuums or washing machines during the day.
Three years ago, the town’s problem with noisy neighbours roared so loudly the council launched a new task force to bring an end to residents’ misery, and deputy leader Coun Gillian Campbell pledged to continue to crackdown on nuisances.
She said: “We take dealing with nuisance complaints very seriously and have robust procedures in place to handle them. Everyone wants to enjoy their lives where they live.
“We think that clean, litter free streets are important and that no one should have to put up with nuisance noise.”
Coun Campbell also promised to prosecute flytippers, described the dumping of rubbish as ‘illegal and potentially dangerous’.
She added: ““Where possible we do fine and prosecute people who are caught as we want to send a clear signal out that such activity will not be tolerated.
“Our council officers are also active in helping to assess noise nuisance and resolve noise problems from regular loud music to neighbour disputes.
“Our approach is also to be pro-active in the way that we tackle potential nuisance problems in the first place such as working with Keep Britain Tidy, local residents and businesses to reduce the amount of litter dropped in Blackpool.
“In addition to regular street cleaning and bin emptying we can help people get rid of unwanted items through our bulky items collection service.
“So that we can all enjoy a peaceful and tidier community I would ask people to report any nuisance issues on Blackpool Council’s
‘I felt angry but I was also scared’
One person who knows all about the noise issue is 48-year-old Sean, who lives in Blackpool but experienced problems when he lived in Southport.
Sean, of South Shore, who declined to give his surname, said: “I lived in a council flat and the people upstairs were drug users and never seemed to sleep at last night.
“They would drop things on the floor, play loud music and shout at each other all night and past five o’ clock in the morning.
“I had to work during the day, so in the mornings so I was really tired. It affected my concentration at work.
“A couple of times I ended up playing a tit for tat thing with the stereo and the next day I had to come home armed with a brick in case of any reprisals.
“It was a nightmare, I felt angry but I was also scared.
“Fortunately my other neighbours got sick of it too and we both went to the council.
“Noise is a real issue these days because lots of people live in flats or houses are rented out. It’s a really big thing,”
In Grange Park, community figure Terry Bennett said: “About six years ago I had a problem with my new neighbour holding paries until 3am nearly every Saturday.
“Every six weeks out of eight it was going on and when I complained I had my bike tyre spiked.
“I sympathise with anyone who has to put up with that, although I think vandalism on the estate is my biggest concern now.”
Coun Lily Henderson, who represents Blackpool’s Highfield ward, said: “I am not too surprised to hear that noise nuisance is such an issue.
“I think one reason could be that more houses these days are rented out because people who buy them but don’t always live in them.
“I feel sorry for anyone who has to put up with noise.”
Previous cases in Blackpool
In July 2015, a dog owner living in Squires Gate was ordered to pay more than £2,000 after his barking pets prompted dozens of complaints from his neighbours.
He was found guilty at Blackpool Magistrates Court of 18 breaches of a noise abatement notice.
Blackpool Council took action after receiving dozens of complaints that his two American Bulldogs, kept in his back yard, continued to bark throughout the day and the early hours of the morning.
• Earlier that year, a 57-year-old man from central Blackpool was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay court costs by resort magistrates after three breaches of a noise abatement order served on him by Blackpool Council.
It followed a series of complaints made about loud music coming from the man’s flat.
• And a 21-year-man from Layton who drove neighbours mad with loud rave music and noisy parties was ordered to pay almost £3,000 in financial penalties by magistrates in December 2009.
He was found guilty of five offences of failing to comply with a noise abatement notice imposed on him by Blackpool Council.
• Last November, a resort mum was told she faced being evicted from her new home after just six weeks – for letting her teen son bounce on a trampoline.
Amanda Hopkins was also threatened with a £2,000 fine if Dylan, then 13, didn’t stop using the 10ft equipment, in the garden of the pair’s Victory Road home in North shore.
She jumped to his defence, but her elderly neighbour said the trampoline, which was pushed against her wall, had made life ‘hellish’.
And council chiefs lost patience too – saying they have ‘exhausted our options’ and slapped the family with an official warning.
Third highest in complaints
The north west received the third highest number of nuisance complaints in the country, after London and the south east.
According to new analysis from Churchill Home Insurance, an estimated 53,791 complaints were made to local councils in the region last year – an average of 147 a day or six every hour.
Despite the number of nuisance notices across the UK decreasing by 2.4 per cent from 2015/16 to 2016/17, complaints in the north west rose by three per cent.
The most common grumble was for noise, making up 38 per cent of all complaints, followed by light (26 per cent), plants (10 per cent), air pollution (eight per cent) and vehicles (eight per cent).
Martin Scott, head of Churchill Home Insurance said: “It is a worrying indictment of modern society that so many people are failing to take responsibility for their communities, keeping noise and other disturbances to a minimum.
“Living next to a noisy neighbour can be extremely debilitating and have a serious impact on the mental wellbeing of the victim.”