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Noise complaints rose to 1,000 a day during the pandemic says Churchill insurance

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Complaints about neighbour noise have soared during the pandemic as people spend more time in their homes.

The number of complaints made to councils every day rose by 28 per cent, according to new research by insurer Churchill.

It found that there were 1,000 noise complaints a day, the equivalent of 40 an hour across Britain. 

The number of complaints made to councils every day rose by 28 per cent, according to new research by insurer Churchill

The number of complaints made to councils every day rose by 28 per cent, according to new research by insurer Churchill

Six of the top 10 councils with the highest number of noise complaints were in London, according to research by insurer Churchill

Six of the top 10 councils with the highest number of noise complaints were in London, according to research by insurer Churchill

Nearly 370,000 noise complaints were made between April 2020 and March 2021, compared to 289,000 in the year previous. 

Most councils – at 86 per cent – reported an increase in noise complaints during the 2020 to 2021 period compared to the same period a year earlier. 

Six of the top 10 councils with the highest number of noise complaints were in London.

The capital’s noise hotspots included Newham with 16,300 complaints, Islington at 15,900 and Kensington and Chelsea at 15,500.

Kensington and Chelsea saw the greatest number of neighbour noise complaints per capita, with 99 for every 1,000 inhabitants.

Neighbour noise has had a negative impact on the mental health of almost a third of people at 32 per cent, which equates to around 16.7million people, according to the survey.

Neighbours playing music was considered as the worst noise for mental health at 34 per cent.

It was followed by noise from children at 30 per cent, garden noise at 30 per cent, parties at 29 per cent and neighbours coming and going at antisocial hours at 24 per cent.

Nearly half at 43 per cent believe themselves to be more aware of noisy neighbours now than before the pandemic began, while more than a third at 39 per cent are more aware of their own noise now.

Nearly half at 43 per cent believe themselves to be more aware of noisy neighbours now than before the pandemic began

Nearly half at 43 per cent believe themselves to be more aware of noisy neighbours now than before the pandemic began

COUNCILS THAT RECEVED THE MOST NOISE COMPLAINTS IN 2020/21
Local council Noise complaints, 2020/21 Percentage increase vs 2019/20
Dudley 26,000 42
London Borough of Newham 16,300 47
London Borough of Islington 15.9 107
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea 15,500 18
London Borough of Barking and Dagenham 10,700 48
Birmingham 10,100 57
North Lanarkshire 9,100 -13
London Borough of Haringey 7,300 37
London Borough of Redbridge 6,400 73
Southampton 6,200 46
UK total 368,924 28
Source: Churchill Home Insurance   

Despite suffering from increased neighbour noise nuisance, only 11 per cent of those affected reported it to their local council. 

Based on a total of 370,000 noise complaints reported to councils in the last year, this suggests as much as 3.3million noise issues were caused in 2020/21, an average of more than 9,000 a day and much more than those officially recorded.

In 29 per cent of cases, the complainant spoke to their neighbour about the problem but in fewer than a third of these cases they were successful in stopping the noise. 

Other common actions taken were contacting the neighbour’s landlord at 16 per cent and reporting them to the police at 14 per cent.

Steven Williams, of Churchill home insurance, said: ‘The pandemic has seen us confined to our homes which means we’ve probably all become very aware of noises around us.

‘As we go into more of a ‘new normal’, many of us will carry on working from home, at least part of the time, so noisy neighbours will continue to be really disruptive.

‘It may be the case that neighbours don’t realise they are being noisy so the first step should always be speaking to them and explaining the problem. 

‘If that doesn’t work and they carry on, then keep a record of the type of noise and time of day and speak to your local council about raising a potential noise complaint.’ 

REGIONAL NOISE COMPLAINTS
Region Noise complaints, 2020/21 Percentage increase vs 2019/20 Share of all complaints 2020/21
London 123,919 37 34
West Midlands 50,049 36 14
South East 43,522 32 12
Scotland 35,643 8 10
East of England 23,659 19 6
North West 18,433 27 5
Yorkshire and the Humber 17,167 12 5
East Midlands 15,763 37 4
South West 15,651 21 4
Wales 12,982 23 4
North East 6,504 34 2
Northern Ireland 5,632 -17 2
Total 368,924 28 100
Source:  Churchill Home Insurance    

The research found that people are most likely to have been affected by noise in London, where 51 per cent of people have been negatively impacted by their neighbours.

It is followed by those in the North East at 37 per cent, and the South West and Scotland both at 34 per cent.

Dudley in the West Midlands took the top spot for number of neighbour noise complaints, with 26,000 complaints made to councils.

Birmingham also made the top 10, with 10,100 complaints received. North Lanarkshire was the only Scottish council that made it into the top 10, receiving 9,100 noise complaints last year.

At the other end of the scale, Wiltshire received only nine complaints last year, North Kesteven received 13 and Tamworth received 37.

On a broader regional basis, London accounted for 34 per cent of all noise complaints last year, with an average of 38 complaints for every 1,000 households.

On a household basis, this is ahead of the West Midlands at 22 per 1,000, Scotland at 15 per 1,000 and the South East at 12 per 1,000.

Every region saw an increase in noise complaints in the year April 2020 to March 2021 compared to the previous year except for Northern Ireland.

Psychologist Donna Dawson, said: ‘The past 18 months have seen our behaviour change in so many ways. With most of us being limited to our homes on a daily basis, it is understandable that noise complaints have risen. 

‘Even small changes in sound can cause increased anxiety and stress for many people, especially if it disrupts home life and makes it difficult to relax, work or look after family.

‘It is always best to try speaking to a neighbour if you feel their noise is unreasonable, but do so when you are not feeling anxious or angry at the time.’

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Former US presidential candidate Bob Dole dies aged 98

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Bob Dole, the long-time Kansas senator who was the Republican nominee for president in 1996, has died from lung cancer. In a statement, the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, founded by Dole’s wife, said: “It is with heavy hearts we announced that Senator Robert Joseph Dole died earlier this morning in his sleep. At his death at age 98 he had served the United States of America faithfully for 79 years.”

In late February, Dole announced that he had advanced lung cancer and would begin treatment. Visiting him, President Joe Biden called Dole his “close friend”.

On Sunday the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, like Biden a Democrat, ordered flags at the Capitol to be flown at half-staff.

Born in Russell, Kansas in 1923, Dole served in the US infantry in the second world war, suffering serious wounds in Italy and winning a medal for bravery.

His wounds cost him use of his right arm but he entered state politics and soon became a longtime Republican power-broker, representing Kansas in the US House of Representatives from 1961 to 1969 and in the Senate until 1996. He had spells as chairman of the Republican National Committee and as Senate minority and majority leader.

In 1976 he was the Republican nominee for vice-president to Gerald Ford, in an election the sitting president lost to Jimmy Carter. Two decades later, aged 73, Dole won the nod to take on Bill Clinton.

Against the backdrop of a booming economy, the Democrat won a second term with ease, by 379 – 159 in the electoral college and by nine points in the popular vote, the third-party candidate Ross Perot costing Dole support on the right.

Dole received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest US civilian honours.

In the Trump years and after, Dole came widely to be seen as a figure from another time in Republican politics.

On Sunday, the political consultant Tara Setmeyer, a member of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, tweeted: “I cast my first ever vote for president for Bob Dole in 1996. A war hero with a sharp sense of humor ? another piece of a once respectable GOP gone.”

However, Dole remained a loyal Republican soldier, telling USA Today this summer that though Donald Trump “lost the election, and I regret that he did, but they did”, and though he himself was “sort of Trumped out”, he still considered himself “a Trumper”.

Dole called Biden “a great, kind, upstanding, decent person”, though he said he leaned too far left.

He also said: “I do believe [America has]lost something. I can’t get my hand on it, but we’re just not quite where we should be, as the greatest democracy in the world. And I don’t know how you correct it, but I keep hoping that there will be a change in my lifetime.”

On Sunday, Jaime Harrison, the chair of the Democratic National Committee, said: “Sending heartfelt condolences and prayers to the family of Senator Bob Dole. We honor his service and dedication to the nation. May he Rest In Peace.”

– Guardian

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Bournemouth is the most popular coastal town for buyers, says Rightmove

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The most popular seaside location for house hunters this year has been Bournemouth, new research has revealed.   

Rightmove identified the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain, based on the highest number of buyer enquiries via its website.

The Dorset resort is the most popular, followed by Southampton, Hampshire and Brighton, East Sussex, with the South coast dominating the list. 

Rightmove has identified the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

Rightmove has identified the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

The top ten list also includes Blackpool, Lancashire – a coastal resort known for its amusement arcades and donkey rides – where prices have increased 8 per cent in the past year to £137,301.

It compares to the average house price in the top 10 locations, which rose 6 per cent this year. 

It is just ahead of the national average rise of 5 per cent, from £318,188, to £333,037. These figures are based on an average between January and November 2020 compared to January-November 2021. 

At the same time, Rightmove provided a list of coastal locations that have seen the biggest increases in house prices this year.

Padstow in Cornwall topped that list of coastal hotspots, with prices rising 20 per cent this year, from from £548,382, to £658,588.

The most popular seaside location for house hunters is Bournemouth (pictured), according to Rightmove

The most popular seaside location for house hunters is Bournemouth (pictured), according to Rightmove

AVERAGE ASKING PRICES IN COASTAL HOTSPOTS 2021
Rank Location Average asking price 2021 Average asking price 2020 Average asking price increase 2021 vs 2020
1 Padstow, Cornwall £658,588 £548,382 20%
2 Whitby, North Yorkshire £254,218 £217,620 17%
3 St. Ives, Cornwall £473,161 £411,484 15%
4 Porthcawl, South Glamorgan, Bridgend (County of) £307,051 £270,505 14%
5 Mablethorpe, Lincolnshire £173,612 £153,140 13%
6 Newquay, Cornwall £317,846 £281,204 13%
7 Filey, North Yorkshire £214,617 £189,914 13%
8 Pwllheli, Gwynedd £222,607 £197,213 13%
9 Brixham, Devon £299,127 £266,604 12%
10 Preston, Paignton, Devon £303,684 £272,029 12%
Source: Rightmove       

It was followed by Whitby, in North Yorkshire, which came second, with prices rising 17 per cent from £217,620, to £254,218. 

Cornwall’s St. Ives is in third place, with average values rising 15 per cent from £411,484 to £473,161.

A house with a good sea view and location will cost you, as it will probably be worth at least 40 per cent more than the equivalent inland, if not more.

Robin Gould – Prime Purchase 

Robin Gould, director of buying agency Prime Purchase, says: ‘Many people love the idea of living beside the sea, even more so since the pandemic struck and we have all been spending more time outside. 

‘However, a house with a good sea view and location will cost you, as it will probably be worth at least 40 per cent more than the equivalent inland, if not more. 

‘A frontline house is arguably worth 30 per cent more than one immediately behind it.

‘I recently bought a “frontline” house near Polzeath in north Cornwall for a client, which was right on the cliff top with stunning coastal and sea views.  

‘Although the house itself was very “vanilla”, most people would have forgiven it anything to have that ever-changing, interesting view.’

Also among the most popular coastal locations for homebuyers is Brighton (pictured)

Also among the most popular coastal locations for homebuyers is Brighton (pictured)

QUICKEST COASTAL MARKETS TO FIND A BUYER
Rank Location Average asking price 2021 Average time to find a buyer 2021 (days) Change in time to find a buyer 2021 vs 2020 (days)
1 Saltcoats, Ayrshire £111,419 19 -35
2 Troon, Ayrshire £178,666 22 -8
3 Westward Ho, Bideford, Devon £297,138 24 -46
4 Ayr, Ayrshire £161,301 25 -15
5 Kessingland, Lowestoft, Suffolk £219,538 25 -22
6 Littlehampton, West Sussex £364,180 26 -28
7 Goring-By-Sea, Worthing, West Sussex £396,078 26 -23
8 Marske-By-The-Sea, Redcar, Cleveland £181,882 28 -15
9 Canvey Island, Essex £308,261 28 -23
10 Weymouth, Dorset £283,585 29 -25
Source: Rightmove       

The red hot property market this year has translated into the time it takes to find a buyer hitting a record low number of days.

The average time find a buyer across the whole of 2021 is 44 days, 15 days quicker than the average in 2020.

Saltcoats in Ayrshire is this year’s quickest coastal location to find a buyer, at 19 days on average.

Troon in Ayrshire came second at 22 days, and Westward Ho, in Bideford, Devon was third at 24 days.

Calshot beach was included as Southampton, which features in the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

Calshot beach was included as Southampton, which features in the top ten most in-demand coastal areas in Britain

THE INCREASE IN COASTAL SEARCHES IN 2021
Rank Location Average asking price Increase in searches 2021 vs 2020
1 Morecambe, Lancashire £164,424 32%
2 Blackpool, Lancashire £137,301 21%
3 Great Yarmouth, Norfolk £194,066 15%
4 Swansea, Wales £180,603 15%
5 Saltburn-By-The-Sea, Cleveland £227,611 15%
6 Southampton, Hampshire £249,053 14%
7 Llandudno, Conwy (County of) £235,316 13%
8 Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, South West Wales £319,587 12%
9 Southport, Merseyside £215,838 12%
10 Scarborough, North Yorkshire £191,879 12%
Source: Rightmove     

Meanwhile, Morecambe, Lancashire saw the biggest jump in coastal buyer searches compared to last year, up 32 per cent, followed by Blackpool, up 21 per cent, and Great Yarmouth, up 15 per cent.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘After a year where coastal locations really captured the imagination of British buyers, it’s interesting to reflect on how the overall picture looks at the end of the year.

‘In terms of average asking price growth, homeowners in Cornwall and Devon are the real winners this year, with properties in some areas outpacing the national average, though this does mean that it is increasingly difficult for some locals to get onto the ladder.

‘The speed of this year’s market really is astounding, seen in the time to find a buyer in some areas, particularly in Scotland.

‘Overall, this has been the year that either through changed lifestyle priorities, or the ability to work remotely, living in coastal areas has become possible for more buyers, which is reflected in the data we’re seeing in this study.’

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UK to require all incoming international travellers to take Covid-19 test

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All international travellers arriving into the UK will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test – while Nigeria is being added to the British government’s travel red list, British health secretary Sajid Javid has said.

Mr Javid said the government had decided to move after receiving new data about the spread of the Omicron Covid-19 variant, which emerged in southern Africa.

“Since we have learned of this new variant our strategy has been to buy time. We have always said we will act swiftly should new data require it,” he told broadcasters on Saturday.

“Over recent days we have learned of a significant number of growing cases linked to travel with Nigeria.

“There are 27 cases already in England and that’s growing. Nigeria now is second only to South Africa in terms of linked cases to Omicron.”

Mr Javid said that the number of cases of Omicron in Britain had now risen to about 160.

Under the new rules, from 4am on Monday only British and Irish nationals travelling from Nigeria will be allowed into the UK and they must isolate in a government-managed quarantine hotel on arrival.

And from 4am on Tuesday, anyone travelling to the UK from countries not on the red list will be required to take a pre-departure Covid-19 test a maximum of 48 hours before leaving, regardless of their vaccination status. – PA/Reuters

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