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Gardener, 73, grassed up to council by neighbour over his 'loud' lawnmower

NewsGardener, 73, grassed up to council by neighbour over his 'loud' lawnmower

A gardener has hit out after neighbours “grassed him up” for mowing the lawn. Malcom Starr, 73, said the moaners should “get a life” after he was told he was under investigation over a noise complaint. Council officials said they may visit his home in the village of Holme-next-the-Sea, near Hunstanton, Norfolk, to monitor the machine with sound-recording equipment.

They have warned him that if they consider the noise to be a “nuisance”, he could be served with a noise abatement order, or even find himself in court.

Mr Starr says he does not know who has grassed him up to West Norfolk council.

But he has been an outspoken figure in his village, where his high proportion of second homes has been a source of controversy.

Mr Starr and his wife Claudia, who rent out a string of holiday homes in the area, were last year threatened with legal action by the same council after it received a complaint over a sign they had put up to promote their business without getting official permission.

Mr Starr said: “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, it was unclear whether the complaint was made in regars to his regular lawnmower or his ride-on tractor that he uses for a neighbouring four-acre field.

Officials have since told him it relates to the ride-on, which Mr Starr says has not been modified in any way.

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He added: “If it’s the field, perhaps they’d rather I built houses on it.”

In their letter to Mr Starr, officials have told him he is being investigated for a possible breach of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which protects people from noise nuisances.

The legislation does not specify legal limits of noise, with officers required to investigate whether it is “unreasonable” or may “substantially interfere” with neighbours.

They have told him they hope to resolve the complaint with an “informal solution”, but if that is not successful will carry out further inquiries.

“These investigations may involve visits by officers with the aim of witnessing the alleged nuisance and/or the use of sound recording equipment at the property of the person making the complaint in order to record the noise that has been reported.”

Ride-on mowers typically produce noise levels of around 90 decibels.

As well as the complaint about his mower, the council has also informed Mr Starr that a complaint has also been made about the storage of fencing and pallets on land next to his property.

Mr Starr says both relate to building work currently being carried out on the house, which he has owned for 10 years.

A West Norfolk council spokesman said: “When the council receives complaints about noise or planning enforcement matters it has a legal duty to investigate and cannot comment on these while they are ongoing.”

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