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£117,000 legal bill for council

PUBLISHED: 10:09 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:55 05 July 2010

A council has been landed with a bill for more than £100,000 in legal costs after failing to prove that a factory was making unnecessary noise.

Waveney District Council issued a noise abatement order against Witham Oil and Paint in Lowestoft when people living near the factory, on Stanley Road, complained about noise coming from the site.

A council has been landed with a bill for more than £100,000 in legal costs after failing to prove that a factory was making unnecessary noise.

Waveney District Council issued a noise abatement order against Witham Oil and Paint in Lowestoft when people living near the factory, on Stanley Road, complained about noise coming from the site.

Now after two unsuccessful court cases against the factory, the council will have to pay £117,000 of taxpayers' money to cover the legal costs of the prosecutions.

When residents complain to their local authority about noise, the council can then serve an abatement notice - an order to deal with the problem - if the noise is considered to be a statutory nuisance.

After the abatement order was issued to Witham Oil and Paint, the noise from the factory's machinery - which is used to make paint, primers and varnishes - did not stop and the company was taken to court by the council.

After a four day trial at Lowestoft Magistrates' Court, the case against Witham Oil and Paint was dismissed and the council was ordered by the magistrates to pay £107,000 towards the costs of the defence case.

The council then took the case to the High Court in London last month, where it was again dismissed and Waveney was landed with a further £10,000 bill for costs.

The paint and lubricant manufacturer, which holds a warrant for supplying products to the Royal households, has its headquarters in Lincoln, where it was set up in 1921.

It took over the United Paints factory in Stanley Road, Lowestoft, in 1996, where it now manufactures paints and industrial coatings for the marine and agricultural industries.

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said that the council is currently reviewing its position regarding any future action against the company.

He said: “We can confirm that this is the correct figure [of £117,000]. However, given the possibility of further court proceedings we will not be making any further comment at this time.”

A spokesman for Witham Oil and Paint declined to comment on the case.

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