Angry Dunstable residents submit 244 compensation claims over busway ‘torture’

Luton-Dunstable Busway
Luton-Dunstable Busway

The number of homeowners seeking compensation over the effects of the Luton-Dunstable Busway has almost hit 250, the Gazette can exclusively reveal.

Since the opening of the guided route in September 2013, Luton Borough Council has been inundated with complaints from residents in Dunstable unhappy with disruption from regular bus services.

The majority of complaints have been lodged by homeowners living close to the line, who have previously told the Gazette that the noise and vibrations eminating from the busway’s tracks is “torture”.

After numerous attempts to soundproof the track LBC has still has not solved the problem, though discussions are ongoing with a ‘noise and vibration specialist’ who has suggested that plates should be fixed over the track’s joints.

Meanwhile 244 households are still locked in discussions with the council over compensation which was previously discussed.

One of those is Ludun Close resident Mike Chamberlain, who told us: “Luton Borough Council is just hoping we will go away.

“Compensation is a dirty word to me but when the track runs within 12 feet of the back of your bungalow it is a different kettle of fish.

“I think we are all cheesed off that it seems like a very slow process.

“The last we heard is that they are considering compensation but they are only interested in the value lost on the property and not about the other problems it has caused.”

Homes on Ludun Close back onto the busway track, as do others at the bottom of Stanton Road and in other cul-de-sacs off Jeans Way.

Due to a fault in the track each bus that passes sends jarring vibrations through these properties.

Excess air pollution and rat infestations in residents’ gardens have also been reported as side effects of the £91m busway.

Mr Chamberlain added: “If anything the noise we are now getting is worse than ever.

“Every day of our lives we have to put up with 300 thumping noises through our bungalow, it is amazing.

“If I had the money or a sponsor I would take the council to court.

“My wife is finding it difficult to cope with, we moved in here for the peace and quiet and now it looks like we need to up sticks and move.”

It is not clear how many of the 244 compensation claims have specifially been made over noise problems, as they have been lodged under a section of the government’s compensation code which also covers physical factors like vibration, smell, fumes, smoke, artificial lighting and solid/liquid discharge.

LBC says it is acting ”in accordance with the established compensation rules”.

A spokesperson added: “We were equally disappointed that initial measures do not seem to have reduced the noise so we have since sought local external specialist advice.

“A local noise and vibration specialist contacted the council following the unsuccessful trial of filling the gaps.

“That specialist undertook further noise and vibration monitoring in two properties at Ludun Close in late October.

“The council received the full results of those surveys in early January, and the Busway team and the council’s environmental protection officer met with the consultant in March in order to consider what further practical measures could be taken to mitigate the noise.

“A possible remedy to this problem was identified which involves fixing plates over the joints.

“We are currently sourcing a company to make these, possibly in a variety of different materials, to trial on a section of the busway.

“We hope to be able to manufacture and install these plates in the next month or so.”