Fears mount over coronavirus risks of student parties

Concern is mounting that continued partying by university students risks fuelling the spread of coronavirus and could expose the rest of the community to infection. Diana Swain, chair of the Chandos Neighbourhood Association, said in a recent email: “We are very alarmed at the risky situation we now find ourselves in with these students paying no regard to the rules, using our shops and passing us on narrow pavements.” In recent weeks, residents have been “reporting daily of students from different households mixing at large parties of 25-30 in each other’s houses—certainly not observing the general societal rules to contain the pandemic,” she said. “Our neighbourhood is one of families, wor

Campus reopenings called into question amid focus on coronavirus risks

Scientists advising the government on coronavirus policy may have underestimated the risks that partying students pose to the rest of the community. Recent reports from Sage, the government’s scientific advisory body, chiefly focused on the potential for transmission of the virus when students go home at the end of term. But there is also a risk that students could pass the infection into the communities in which they live, according to Dr Richard Tyler, co-ordinator of the National HMO Lobby. He has written a three-page response to recent papers published by Sage looking at the further and higher education sectors. “The Lobby considers that these papers significantly underestimate the serio

* Hampton, 28 July: Third complaint

(S059) Third complaint about a student house on Hampton Road, near the Chandos junction—reported just 24 hours after the second complaint (see previous report). Resident reported to UoB just after midnight: "It is now Tuesday, 28th July, and there was another get-together at [xx] Hampton Road. This time it finished at 00:05H. There was at times loud music and when there was no music you could hear the talking even with the windows closed. "I know [UoB staff visited] yesterday, telling them what they are expected to do. I just don't think they took it seriously. "At 00:05 I counted 16 students leaving the house to go on to somewhere else .... As they left, I was outside on my chair and you co

* Woodfield, 26 July: Third complaint in week

(S058) Third complaint in a week about noise at a student house in Woodfield Road, this one relating to disturbance beginning in the evening of 26 July and extending beyond midnight. (This report should be read in conjunction with the previous one, about a property in Hampton Road.) A resident who made earlier complaints about the Woodfield Road address wrote to UoB at just after midnight to say that "since 22:00H tonight .... 26th July, [x] Woodfield Road had a group of students in and out of the back garden of this house. As of this email, there is a number of them now in the garden talking very loudly." In a follow-up email, he said that "[x] Woodfield Road [kept] the loud noise up in the

* Hampton, 27 July: '1am, please turn music off'

(S057) Second complaint against a student house in Hampton Road near the Chandos junction, this time in relation to disturbance on 27 July 2020. (This complaint is paired with the next one, about [x] Woodfield Road.) Resident wrote to UoB shortly after midnight to say students had returned to [xxx] Hampton Road after visiting [x] Woodfield Road and had "put music on quite loudly and [were] hanging out the ground floor window smoking." He later reported seeing two students in the garden at around 01:15 and told them "It's gone 1am, now [please] turn the music off .... within around 5 mins it was turned off and around 12 students left the property." (Emails, 27/07/2020, 00:25 and 11:17, sw) (

* Lansdown, 24 July: '2am request rejected'

(S056) Complaint about multiple disturbances from a student property in Lansdown Road, most recently in the early hours of 24 July 2020. A resident who lives in Stanley Road, back to back with Lansdown, has written to UoB detailing four instances of disturbance from the property since the start of July, as well as noise from other students houses nearby. In relation to the most recent entry in the list, she writes: "24 July—2am, asleep in my own bedroom [she had moved to a different room on other occasions]. I wake at 2am and hear multiple people talking in the garden. I shout out my window “Go inside, it is 2am!” A male voice immediately shouts back “Shut up, [her name]”. I say again “It’s

* Eaton Crescent, 22 July: 'Loud music'

(S055) Complaint about noise from a flat at Eaton Crescent, Clifton, on night of 22/23 July 2020. Resident reports to UoB and managing agents: "The new tenants of Flat No[x], No[xx] Eaton Crescent, were playing loud music after 2330 on Wed 22nd Jul. I asked them to turn it down and be more considerate of neighbours. Later, at about 0130, I was woken again by them being noisy in the courtyard for about an hour. Please could [you] remind the tenants of their community responsibilities, especially considering that the issues we normally face in September are now starting already due to summer occupation of the HMO." (Email, 25 July 2020, 14:16, ns)

* Hampton, 25 July: 'Noise stopped after texts'

(S054) Further report about a student property in Hampton Road, between Aberdeen and Abbotsford Roads, regarding noise disturbance on 25 July 2020. This property has been cited in several previous complaints (see here). Resident emailed to UoB: "The time is 0220hrs. I have work in 4 hours' time. I have been awoken [by] very loud music and loud singing. On looking out of the window I have observed a number of people wandering into [xx] Hampton Road." The resident says he texted students at the address, who denied they were the source of the noise. He adds: "Funnily enough, as each of them opened the message, the volume significantly dropped and eventually stopped." (Email, 25 July 2020, 02:27

* Woodfield, 24 July: 'Hell of a racket'

(S053) Further complaint about a student house in Woodfield Road that was reported to UoB just three days previously after a large party (see previous report). The complainant wrote to UoB at 00:15 on Friday, 24 July, that "number [x] Woodfield Road is at it again ... this time they are in the house singing and talking at a very high level of voice. [There are some students] in the garden. As I can't see over the high fence, I can't tell how many there is. This has been going on since at around 22:00H ..." He emailed UoB again about an hour later to say that some students had left and the gathering had "almost finished", although there "was still a lot of talking loudly in the garden, where

* Waverley, 23 July: 'Woken by group in street'

(S052) Report of street noise in Waverley Road in the early hours of 23 July, by unidentified people. A resident emails: "I was woken at 2.30 this morning by what sounded like a large group of people moving slowly down Waverley Road. It wasn't a party, but they sounded like they were going home after one. Shouting, singing and swearing went on for about 15 min. Bristol has usually gone quiet by this month, but then we're not in normal times." (Email, 23/07/2020, 11:24,ks) Note: It's often difficult or impossible to identify those responsible for passing street noise, which is why incidents such as this are rarely reported. I nevertheless believe these cases may represent the largest category

* Hampton, 22 July: 'Loud bass, shouting'

(S051) Fourth complaint recorded in July against a student house in Hampton Road, between Aberdeen and Abbotsford roads, this time in relation to disturbance on 22/23 July. A resident wrote to UoB at 1am on the 23rd: "[xx] Hampton Road is currently having another party. They have been playing loud bass music since around 11pm (Wednesday night/Thursday morning) and there is shouting. We can also hear people being wished goodbye as they leave the house, so suspect not all the people attending are from this household." (Email, 23 July 2020, 01:00) A few hours earlier, the resident had written to UoB registering a general complaint and saying: "This is a house of 10 UoB students that have cause

* Roslyn, 22 July: 'Louder at 1am'

(S050) Third complaint recorded in July in relation to a student house in Roslyn Road, this time with regard to a party that started in the evening of 22 July and extended into the early hours. A resident has complained to UoB: "Music with bass and constant chatter of voices from about 11.30 on Wednesday night, which got louder at midnight but then almost stopped about 12.20. "... the noise level got louder again at around 1am for about an hour and [I] could hear people ... making noise in the street through the night as they left. "At 5.30am a group of 4 came out and [I] could hear someone saying goodbye and shut the front door. They were hanging around in the street making noise, then sat

* Hampton, 21 July: 'Party whack-a-mole'

(S049) Party in back yard of student house on Hampton Road near the junction with Melville Road during the evening of 21 July 2020. A resident has complained to UoB: "A gathering began to form at [xx] Hampton Road mid-afternoon yesterday (21/07) and by 21:00 the music volume and shouting were quite something. "As it was comparatively early (albeit there are young families living within close proximity) I was prepared to allow them some slack. However, at 23:00 I attended the property where c.20-30 individuals of student age were present in the back yard. "I pointed out that the noise was, in the circumstances, excessive and also that they were in breach of social distancing guidance. In resp

* Hampton, 21 July: 'Infantile whooping'

(S048) Loud singing from top-floor flat at a property on the east side of Hampton Road, near Kenilworth Road, in the early hours of 21 July. A resident who is senior academic has complained to both universities: "I went out at about 2:15 because I have been kept awake despite my earplugs ... I've got the property, house number and singing on a short video. There has been almost uninterrupted loud singing for about an hour and a half ... The singing is accompanied by shouting and screaming, and the usual infantile whooping. "From the extent of the noise, I expect more people than are allowed under current Covid rules, i.e., not just housemates. "I called 101... However, was informed, as alway

* Woodfield, 21 July: Noise from garden

(S047) Large party in a student house in Woodfield Road that began in late evening on Tuesday, 21 July, and continued until around 4-30am on the 22nd. I observed this event between midnight and around 4am, having initially been contacted by a resident who lives close to the address. (Update 16:40, 23/07/2020: Two other residents have submitted complaints. See below.) We estimate there were about 60 people present at the property, mostly in the back garden, which is not visible from the street. There was some beat music, but most of the noise was the general hubbub of a large group of people in the open air, interspersed with shouting, screaming, loud laughing, etc, which could be heard appro

* Hampton Park, 20 July: 'Party till 4am'

(S046) Report of large student party in Hampton Park in the early hours of 20 July. Resident writes: "I live in [xx] Hampton Park—underneath an HMO which had a huge party of around 40-50 students last night, which went on to around 4am." No further details provided. The resident says she has contacted the University of Bristol and the landlord. (Email, 20 July 2020, 12:51)

* Roslyn, 14 July: 'Mentally exhausted'

(S045) Complaint about student behaviour in Roslyn Road, sent to the vice-chancellors of both universities by a resident who is a university staff member. Includes details of noise incidents in the early hours of 14 July. (This is posted out of sequence, through oversight. Another complaint about the same events has since come to light and is added below.) The resident writes: "I would like to make another formal complaint about student behaviour on Roslyn Road. As one of the most densely populated student roads in the area (16 out of 37 [houses] have a HMO licence) noise and poor behaviour is a constant problem for the professional and family properties living here and it is ruining our men

St Andrew's resident calls for action against drunk students

A resident in Cromwell Road, St Andrew's, has complained to both universities, describing student behaviour in her area. (I have not recorded this in my incident list because it's outside the area the list typically covers. However, this account demonstrates that the problems we are experiencing in the "UoB area" are also being felt elsewhere. I believe students living in Cromwell Road are most likely to be affiliated with UWE.) The resident writes: "On Saturday, 11th July, at 22.54, I called the police as the noise and amount of people that were coming and going from number [xx] Cromwell Rd was ridiculously high and social distancing was not being followed. " ... students were warned by the

* Roslyn, 18 July: 'Cheering, screaming'

(S044) Second complaint about noise disturbance at a student house in Roslyn Road, this time in the early hours of 18 July. Resident writes: "[xx] Roslyn Rd ... were a problem last night. Out in the garden until gone 01:00—drunk shouting, cheering, screaming. I have reported it to the UoB as well." (Email to me, 18 July 2020, 11:59, ma) A previous complaint about this address is recorded here.

* Chandos, 17 July: '2am chorus on street'

(S043) Group of people, presumed to be students, creating noise on the street in Chandos Road in the early hours of 17 July 2020. A resident has complained to UoB: "At around 2.00am, from what sounded like somewhere on Chandos Road, a chorus was chanted at full volume by what must be a large gang of students. I dragged myself out to see what was going on, but as I approached Chandos Road I could see students running around with drinks in hand. Given the Covid pandemic, and the complete indifference to social distancing that students have displayed, I abandoned the search. .... It’s becoming increasingly obvious that at night there are some students who will not control their behaviour." (Ema

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