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Court grants NNDC closure order over anti-social behaviour
Action taken as a final resort after resident ignored previous orders and court judgements
Date published: 25th April 2018
North Norfolk District Council has closed a flat in Sheringham after successfully applying for a closure order.
The order was executed on Wednesday, April 25, following a hearing at Norwich Magistrates’ Court the previous day, after the council had issued a closure notice to Paul Still, of Barford Road. It followed persistent and long-term anti-social behaviour by Still.
NNDC has now executed the order, in partnership with Victory Housing Trust and with the help of the police. It means the property is now empty and secured, and anyone other than staff and representatives of the housing trust who enters the premises over the next three months may be guilty of a criminal offence.
Still – who did not turn up at the hearing – was also ordered to pay the council’s full costs of £3,495.
Closure orders are used only sparingly, but North Norfolk District Council took the decision to issue the closure notice and apply for the order after exhausting all other options.
For the past six months, Still has been given warnings about his anti-social behaviour, which has caused great distress to his neighbours. He has played loud, amplified music at all times of day and night, and he recently began to use power tools at the property, as well as shouting, banging and slamming doors.
NNDC had already been granted and executed three warrants to remove music equipment, but Still simply obtained new equipment and continued with the unreasonable, excessive noise.
An abatement notice was also served, which required Still to stop the noise nuisance from loud amplified music. A breach of such a notice is a criminal offence, but he breached it on at least six occasions and was convicted by Norwich magistrates last month.
There was no subsequent improvement in his behaviour, however, and neighbours – who kept logs of the noise – described their experiences as “sheer hell”, with the noise impacting their health.
North Norfolk District Council consulted with Victory and the police before serving the closure notice, as it was required to do.
Cllr Hilary Cox, NNDC Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: “This anti-social behaviour was so appalling that it was impacting the health of his neighbours.
“Applying for this order was something we did only after exhausting all other options. This offender’s refusal to improve his behaviour, even after his criminal conviction last month, left us with no choice.
“We do not tolerate anti-social behaviour, and we will take action whenever this sort of nuisance impacts others in our community.”
Cllr Nigel Lloyd, NNDC Shadow Portfolio Holder for the Environment, said: “I am sure the neighbours who have suffered over a long period of time will be pleased that the council has taken this action.
“The council gave every opportunity to avoid this outcome but ultimately it has a responsibility to ensure that all residents have a right to a reasonable quality of life, and can live free from the blight of anti-social behaviour.”
Last updated: 25th April 2018