Subliminal Software

Stress Caused by Noisy Neighbours

Of all the hazards that must be avoided when moving house, that of noisy neighbors is near the top of the list of potential stress factors.

After a day at work, peace and quiet, preferably both indoors and out, are essential. For this reason, visits to the planning office, chats with potential neighbors, a study of local papers and a rigorous insistence that all the questions are fully answered on the estate agent's questionnaire are essential. Even so, people can get caught out.

The following is a case in point. The Tumbledown Pub ('Always as quiet as the grave, doctor,') celebrated the arrival of one of its new neighbors by applying for planning permission and the appropriate licences to turn itself into a nightclub. The comfortable country house nearby -Edwardian, sound, established - was due to be sold the following week. Contracts had been delivered and deposits had been paid, but the vendor hadn't yet signed his contract.

The night before the contracts were due to be exchanged, caravan-dwellers moved into the field next door. The buyers immediately withdrew, leaving the owners with an unsaleable house. In this kind of situation, a good lawyer is expensive, but essential. Never hope for the best and don't try negotiating yourself; it will only increase their noise, double your stress and halve the likelihood of a happy outcome.

Two court cases later, and legal expenditure equivalent to that of a good middle-grade car, planning permission for change of use was justifiably refused, as was the request for an extension of the licence until 2 o'clock in the morning. The caravans, however, are still in the field of the house nearby, and its owners are now the worried stressed possessors of two houses, one of which is still unsaleable. Meanwhile, the lawyers grow richer.