Dear Sir,

Further to your request for suggestions for Nick Clegg, I have the following proposal.

At present any one person may object to any real or imagined nuisance from an established business by appealing to one of the many departments of local Government such as Environmental Health, Planning or Health & Safety. The Local Authority do not have to disclose the name of the objector who may well have personal grievances to air irrespective of the value of a business to any given area in terms of employment, investment and contributions to the local economy not least by way of rates.

If such an objection results in an enforcement notice the costs of bringing the action are born by the Local Authority (the tax payer) whereas the costs of defending it are born exclusively by the business so affected. Such costs, as in the case of an appeal, can be extremely detrimental to the affected business to say nothing of the waste of time and the anxiety which results.

Obviously I recognise that at times a genuine nuisance may arise. In this case I would like to suggest that complaints must first be submitted to the Parish Council or a minimum of say 25 signatures be obtained. Secondly that if unsuccessful in his or her action, the objector should bear the costs of the case.   

I think you will find a level of support for this proposal from many businesses in the U.K.


Why is this idea important?

The idea is important because it is presently easy for an objector to air his grievances entirely without incurring any personal costs or risks, his name is never disclosed, and at the same time to cause a defendant to incur huge costs in defending an action which is frequently vexatious. Local authorities are quick to issue enforcement notices and even when rthey lose such an action, the defendant will not get costs awarded.  

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