DISSATISFIED Test Valley residents made 260 formal complaints to the council last year, a report has shown.

Test Valley Borough Council has released an annual complaints report, which shows the authority received 260 between April 1, 2015, and March 31, 2016.

The number is a slight decline on the previous year, in which the council received 267 complaints.

However the number is up around 40 from 2013-14, and over 50 more than the number received in 2012-13.

The report shows over half of all complaints made were towards the council’s environmental services department, who generated 144 different grievances.

The department received more than four times as many complaints as the second placed group, planning and building, which received 33.

However, environmental services were also the most highly praised department, receiving 139 compliments.

Of the 260 complaints, recorded through the authority’s official complaints procedure, 10 were escalated.

Eight of those were dealt with by the authority’s chief executive, while two were taken to the Local Government’s Ombudsman (LGO) – a government organisation which investigates complaints about council’s and other local bodies.

The first related to a complaint about the installation of a footpath and maintenance of a lawn and prompted an investigation by the LGO.

The report states that the investigation was not completed during the 2015/16 period.

The other complaint was made by residents in relation to commercial activity.

TVBC were in the process of issuing a discontinuance notice at the time of the complaint, and the LGO subsequently closed the investigation.

The report states the resident later thanks TVBC for the notice, which orders the receiver to stop or face further action.

TVBC declined to give more information about the two complaints, citing a possible breach of data protection.

Corporate portfolio holder, councillor Phil North, said: “We are pleased that the number of complaints made to the council has declined.

“However, complaints are an incredibly useful way to identify areas for improvement in the services we provide and each is investigated thoroughly.

“Services with the highest number of complaints are inevitably those that have the highest number of customer contacts, such as environmental services, which is responsible for collecting waste and recycling, planning and building and revenues, which includes benefits and council tax.

“The number of complaints received in relation to these services is minimal in relation to volume of customers they come into contact with.

“We also receive a very limited number of complaints via social media.

“However, regardless of how a customer submits a complaint to the council they are all investigated in the same way following our standard complaints procedure.”