Neighbourly Issues

The Challenge

Two sets of neighbours had moved into the same street in their neighbourhood at around the same time. They established a positive relationship and had been good friends, going in and out of one another’s homes and sharing cups of tea.

However, the situation changed for the worse, when one of the neighbours began to set bonfires in their back garden. This created dense smoke in the other neighbour’s garden and quite a few arguments ensued. Allegations and comments had been made by the children. Rumours and complaints had been made to the Housing Association. The situation had deteriorated to such an extent that a physical altercation took place and damage was done to one of the neighbour’s vehicles, resulting in visits to both houses by the Police.

A referral to the Ashford Mediation Service was made by the responsible Housing Officer.

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The Solution

Both parties were visited separately in their homes by two mediators and they agreed to go to a round table meeting.

At the round table meeting, the parties discussed previous events and realised that the problems had originally started because of one of the partner’s behaviour. At the mediation session, it was clear that one of the neighbours had not been aware of their partner’s behaviour and they then apologised. The other neighbour also apologised for how their behaviour had aggravated the situation.

The professionally trained mediators helped the neighbours to agree to a method to deal with any potential problems in the future.

Both sets of neighbours were contacted six weeks after the round table meeting and both parties said things were going well and they were getting on much better with their neighbour.

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