Essex council criticised for noise pay-out refusal

Essex County Council's refusal to compensate a couple living near a waste transfer station has been criticised by the local government ombudsman.

It had said two councils involved in the dispute should pay £30,000 to the couple for noise nuisance but only Epping District Council paid its share.

The ombudsman said the case was similar to previous claims and the county council should have paid out.

The county council said it would consider the report's conclusions.

In 2006 the ombudsman recommended the councils pay compensation for noise nuisance and reduced value to two claimant's homes close to the waste transfer station.

Both councils agreed and shared the costs.

'Treating them differently'

This case was brought two years later and the ombudsman recommended £30,000 be paid to another couple who lived near the site - 60% by the county council and 40% by the district council.

The county council listed 12 reasons for refusing to pay its £18,000 share.

It said its own valuers did not agree that the claimant's house had been devalued by £30,000 and the impact of the waste site on their property was not as great as on other properties.

In her report, current local government ombudsman Anne Seex said she recommended the council pay its share of the money.

She said: "There is no justification for treating them differently to the two other residents who have received loss of value payments."

A spokesman for Essex County Council said: "The arguments put forward by the county council against the payment were very strong but it will now decide if the final conclusions of the ombudsman change this

"The council will only make a financial payment in line with the recommendations if it is satisfied that the council was in fact responsible for any financial loss suffered or if there are other strong reasons why the compensation should be paid."

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