A 77-year-old woman says she has been left feeling suicidal after Cornwall Council moved a noisy neighbour into the bungalow next door.

Sandra Richards who lives in the Beacon area of Falmouth in a council bungalow run by Cornwall Housing says she is at the end of her tether after being subjected to noise nuisance for weeks on end leaving her unable to sleep.

Now she says, despite the council promising to do something about it for weeks, the housing officer in charge of her case had now gone on holiday and it has been assigned to someone else. Mrs Richards said she went to the Packet because she didn't know where else to turn for help.

Falmouth Packet: Mrs Richards has been forced sleep in her lounge on a pullout bedMrs Richards has been forced sleep in her lounge on a pullout bed (Image: Paul Armstrong)

The new tenant was moved in next door at Christmas following the death her previous neighbour and friend. Mrs Richards has lived in her bungalow for 13 years.

She told the Packet her new neighbour was constantly “banging around” in his property: “I feel suicidal about it all,” she said. “The only reason I am able to talk to you today is because he wasn’t there last night and I was able to sleep.”

She says the walls between the two properties are paper thin and she can hear everything that is going on next door. She has two bedrooms and she is unable to sleep in either of them because of the noise.

She has been forced to try and sleep on a pull-out bed in her lounge and try and sleep in her bedroom when she can during the day.

She says she’s lucky if she gets four hours a night. “It can vary,” she said. “It can be banging the front door when he's in and out.

"It can be falling over or it's like he’s bouncing off the walls sometimes. It's a different sounds all the time. Sometimes it sounds as if he’s just the other side. It was as if he just sort of fell flat on the floor or something.”

She says she has been in constant contact with Cornwall Council but says she feels like she’s just being fobbed off. She has kept a daily record of the noises she hears every day and night as requested by the council which runs into many pages.

In a letter to Mrs Richards, Cornwall Housing says it is aware that she has reported her neighbour for “alleged anti-social behaviour” including loud banging throughout the day and night and excessive volume on the TV or radio.

Falmouth Packet: Just some of the pages on notes of noise Mrs Richards has madeJust some of the pages on notes of noise Mrs Richards has made (Image: Paul Armstrong)

They say as he is a secure tenant they are unable to remove him without escalating it through its enforcement notice which has to be evidenced by her. They say what she is describing is not classed as a statutory noise nuisance.

“Despite the level of frequency of the anti-social behaviour that is being reported,” Cornwall Housing said in the letter,” I do understand there has been a breakdown in the relationship between your neighbour and yourself. As a result [your housing officer] and I have requested a direct let for your neighbour. I can confirm that this has now been approved.

“The direct let process is now dependant on a suitable property becoming available in the area that your neighbour would like to move to. I am hopeful that this process will be relatively quick. However I cannot guarantee this.”

Mrs Richardson say the fact that they refer to a “breakdown in the relationship” shows they have no understanding of what is actually happening. “It make me so angry,” she said. “I am getting no sleep, I can’t function, I can’t do anything. I’m a complete wreck. I’m exhausted all the time.”

Martyn Scott, Head of Housing Management at Cornwall Housing, said: “Although we cannot comment on specific cases, it is important for residents to know that we care about the welfare of our residents. 

"When we are told about neighbourhood issues, we take them seriously and work with all those involved to find practical and reasonable solutions. 

"Often, these kinds of issues are not straight-forward so we work to find the right balance between supporting customers and taking enforcement action when other methods have not succeeded, and where it is proportionate and appropriate to do so. 

"We have a dedicated team of Neighbourhood Enforcement Officers for more complex cases, and they work alongside our Housing Officers, the Police, Cornwall Council and other partners to help resolve issues for residents. 

"This type of work can take time, and we realise it can be frustrating for those involved, but we would encourage any resident experiencing issues to report them because we will support you, and we will act.”