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What does it mean to be a good neighbour?

During a meeting this week, one of our housing association contacts mentioned the concept of being a good neighbour and it got us thinking. What does it mean to be a good neighbour today? Here are some of our thoughts and we’d love you to share yours!

1. A family moves in next door. You pop round to introduce yourself. You find out they have relocated from the other side of the country. You offer to help them get to know the area.

2. You are about to build an extension on your home. You know that the building works are going to be a bit noisy at times. You drop a note through the letterbox of each of your nearest neighbours to explain what the work involves and for how long it will go on. You offer apologies in advance for any disturbance while offering reassurance that the work will only take place during certain hours. You ask the builders to be respectful of your neighbours.

3. Parking is limited in your cul-de-sac and it can be a cause of tension among the residents. Your three grown-up children are all coming to stay for a few days over Christmas. You ask them to park on a nearby street where there is always space rather than causing problems for your neighbours in the cul-de-sac.

4. The hedge between your house and your neighbours belongs to you and you are responsible for its upkeep. You trim it regularly to make sure it doesn’t grow too high and block light from your neighbours’ garden. You offer to go round and trim their side of the hedge.

5. You enjoy listening to music to wind down after a long day at work. You like to crank up the volume but you avoid turning it up too loud and you make sure your speakers are not positioned too close to any party walls. Late at night, you use headphones to avoid disturbing your neighbours. 

6. You buy a new puppy. As part of his training, you train him to be left alone in the house when you go out without him as you’re keen to ensure he doesn’t bark or cry while you’re out and disturb your neighbours.

7. You have a front garden. You make sure it is well-maintained and kept clear of rubbish. Your elderly neighbour is finding it hard to manage her garden. You offer to mow her grass and help her out with weeding and watering. While you're there, you always make time for a chat and ask if she needs help with anything else.

8.  You are throwing out some furniture and a fridge. You arrange disposal via the local council’s bulky waste collection service or a registered waste carrier. 

9.  You’re having a barbecue to celebrate a milestone birthday and have invited a group of friends and family. You plan to set off some fireworks after dark. You inform your neighbours in advance and, if appropriate, invite them to come along. You avoid playing loud music outside and ask your guests who stay late to be mindful that some of your neighbours might be trying to sleep.

10.  Your neighbour mentions they’re going on holiday for a fortnight. You offer to keep an eye on their house and water their plants while they’re away. You’re such a good neighbour, they don’t hesitate to hand over their keys and brief you on what they’d like you to do!

If you’re based in the Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Malling, or Tunbridge Wells areas and find yourself in dispute with your neighbours, contact West Kent Mediation to find out if we can help you. You can read more about our neighbourhood, family and workplace mediation services on our website and contact us by email at or by telephone on 01732 469696.

June 1, 2024
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