Boy of FOUR is threatened with £5,000 fine... for 'playing too loudly' in his garden
By PAUL SIMS
Last updated at 11:25 PM on 29th August 2011
Like most boys his age, Alfie Lansdell can spend hours playing happily in his garden.
But playtime could soon be over for the boisterous four-year-old after a neighbour complained to council officials that he was too noisy.
As a result, his parents have been warned that if he doesn't keep quiet, they will be issued with an abatement order and could face a £5,000 fine.
Last night, they reacted furiously to the letter from Hull City Council. 'We were so shocked when we got the letter, then we just felt angry,' said his father, Simon, a 35-year-old engineer.
'Alfie is a lovely little boy. He likes to play football and skittles and play in his sandpit.
'He's like any other four-year-old. All children create a bit of noise when they play, it's natural.
'Surely a child should be allowed to make a bit of noise when playing in his own garden? It's the summer holidays, for goodness sake. I just can't believe the council took this complaint seriously.'
He said that they had tried to explain the letter to Alfie and he was now trying to play a little quieter. But he added: 'He's only four. He doesn't realise.'
The couple, who have lived on the street in Hull for five years, are unsure who made the complaint. But their immediate neighbours are standing by them.
Emma Ward, a 26-year-old student nurse, said: 'It is nice to hear children playing out. The council haven't got a leg to stand on.
Mother-of-two Carla Chester said: 'Alfie is no different from the other children who play out. It is disgusting they have been contacted by the council about him.'
Alfie's mother Pippa, 31, said: 'I always watch Alfie when he plays in the garden and he's never that noisy. I don't understand it. The weather's been so bad he's barely had a chance to play outside.'
Alfie, who starts primary school next month, has always played in the 8ft by 8ft front garden at the family's end-of-terrace home without a problem until now.
But the letter from the council's environmental health team claims he is a 'noise nuisance'.
It states that the complaint relates to a 'child screaming/playing in garden' and asks the parents to consider the impact it could have on their neighbours.
It then warns them that if the council receives further complaints about the noise, Alfie's behaviour could be monitored with digital recording equipment.
The complainant has also been asked to keep a record of dates and times when Alfie's playing causes a nuisance, it adds.
The letter says that if convicted, the Lansdells could be fined £5,000, as well as £500 daily 'for each day the nuisance continues'.
Mrs Lansdell, a security officer, branded it 'pathetic', adding: 'What am I supposed to do, gag him and put him in his bedroom?'
A council spokesman said: 'We have to investigate any noise complaints we receive and informed Mr and Mrs Lansdell a complaint had been received.'