Call for action over ‘excessive noise’ from student homes in Brighton

Student homes in the Upper Lewes Road area
Student homes in the Upper Lewes Road area

Constant anti-social behaviour from student houses saw one Brighton resident ask the council to take action.

David Mead, of Upper Lewes Road, told members of Brighton and Hove City Council that people were suffering sleep deprivation due to excessive noise and that the situation needed to be reviewed.

He asked: “When is the council going to protect its residents from excessive noise?”

Mr Mead told the neighbourhoods, inclusion, communities and equalities (NICE) committee that the out-of-hours service had served a function and it was a ‘shame’ it closed as the service was now under the city’s field officers .

He shared his frustration at the lack of a central database for student homes at either university and the perceived lack of interest when residents complain.

Mr Mead said: “On 20-plus occasions I have got up and got dressed in the middle of the night and taken my life into my own hands and been threatened.

“At that point you can get the police in.”

He told councillors that his neighbours live in fear and do not confront students causing anti-social behaviour.

After the meeting Mr Mead said that his home was surrounded by shared houses, also known as houses in multiple occupation (HMOs), with about 12 within 80 yards.

Since moving in three years ago, he has spent thousands of pounds soundproofing his home to try to combat the noise of regular parties.

He said: “When I have gone out and spoken to them when they have woken up the children in the street, I was told where to go.

“I was told this is a student area. We are not interested in you.

“You end up going to work on less than four hours’ sleep.

“If you get woken up late at night, it takes ages to get back to sleep.”

There have been times when students in the same house have had weekly parties.

Mr Mead and more than 300 others have shared their stories and experiences on a Facebook group called Family Homes Not HMO’s, Brighton.

Labour councillor Emma Daniel, who chairs the committee, said: “We do have problems with noise from all sorts of households.

“Twenty incidents of getting threatened in the night is not acceptable.

“‘Out of hours’ only operates on Friday and Saturday but the reality is noise can happen any time of the week.

“For people who work, it is much worse when it is in the week.”

She said that the number of calls to the out-of-hours service had dropped since 2011 and as two officers operated the service, it could be dangerous.

Councillor Daniels said that the new service operated seven days a week from Friday (December 7), working on flexible contracts with core hours of noon to 8pm, but can operate out of hours.

She said that environmental health officers can still deal with noise complaints and leave recording equipment.

Councillor Daniels said: “We are already seeing results with officers going around the next day following complaints when they are sober. We are already seeing this having an impact on repeat behaviour.

“With the best will in the world we cannot stop it as it happens but we can try to stop repeated misery.

“The only complaint we’ve had so far is from a perpetrator or nuisance who complained they were visited on a Sunday.”

The lead officer responsible for field officers was at the meeting and took the detail in an effort to deal with the ongoing problem.