► Waverley, 6 Oct: 'Barrage of excessive noise'

October 8, 2018

(18012) Large, very loud house party lasting until 4 or 5 in the morning at house near western end of road. Heavy beat music broadcasting from front basement room, where a student could be seen operating a sound deck. There was also an astonishing amount of "people noise" coming from the back garden, where there was a very large, very noisy crowd. One student gave an estimate of 100 at the property.

 

(Report updated, 10/10/18—see additions at end; the video that was linked to this report has been removed as of 17/10/18)

 

Waverley Road forms one side of a rectangle enclosing the rear gardens of Waverley, Hampton and Kenilworth Roads with St. Ronan's Avenue. The combined noise of both people and music therefore caused major disruption to many residents. In addition there was a constant procession of groups of people in an out of the house, with lots of attendant noise in Waverley Road itself. No one appeared to be controlling who went in. I estimate the noise would have affected (to a potentially disruptive level) residents of about 50 properties.

 

I arrived at the property at about 00:20am after an alert from a website subscriber. The event had already been in progress for some time. I tried to take pictures of the sound operation in the front basement, but the windows were steamed up so I didn't get much.

 

A student who had obviously spotted me came to talk to me, and was very polite and solicitous. Were they making too much noise? I confess I initially thought this was a joke, until I saw that he was clearly sincere. I gave him the usual speech and said the music needed to be turned down or, better, off. He went away to try to quieten things down. (He had confirmed they were University of Bristol students and that he himself was a 2nd-year student. He couldn't recall having had any input from UoB on the subject of parties.)

 

As he departed, I encountered two local residents. One, just passing, told me this party could be heard two streets away, and there were other parties going on in Ravenswood Road. The second, a resident living across the street from the party house, was going elsewhere to sleep. 

 

I was sceptical the offer to turn down the music would have any effect, so I went in the meantime to Ravenswood Road—see separate report, 18010.

 

When I returned at after 1am, things were much the same. I went to the house and asked to speak to the organiser. A different young man came out, who seemed equally anxious to be helpful (he later gave me his name and phone number, but we will just call him "A"). We had a long discussion. I told him the people noise at the rear was almost as loud as the music. He asked me to wait while he tried to get some of the crowd inside. He came back a few minutes later and walked with me around the corner into St. Ronan's, where there is a break in the building line and the garden noise, unobstructed, was fully evident. "A" immediately recognised this was excessive and I could see from his expression that it was beginning to dawn on him that this event had spun completely out of control. He doubted he could effect much change; I said he would just have to keep trying.

 

On Saturday afternoon I distributed flyers in Waverley Road and surrounding streets to ask who had been affected. Excerpts from replies to date:

 

Resident, Ravenswood:

Has sent a complaint to UoB.

 

Resident, Kenilworth:

"The party at [xx] Waverley Rd last night was the loudest and most disruptive I've experienced in my 2 years here. I missed about half my night's sleep, which considering my wife is 39 weeks pregnant and likely to go into labour at any minute was pretty frustrating!

The music started at 11pm, and it was definitely still going at 2.30pm (when I must have fallen asleep at last). The problem for me was the music—clearly a powerful sound system, lots of bass and it got through all my attempts to drown it out with white noise etc. The party then woke my 2-year-old up at just after 6am—although the music had stopped by then, there were still people at the house making howling noises and shouting."

(Resident has sent a complaint to UoB.)

 

Resident:

"I'm a resident living very close to where the party took place. It did disrupt me. I don't mind so much the students having parties from time to time, but it's been a cacophony of noise since enrolment week. Every night wave after wave of students make their way up Waverley Road from 11pm onwards, screaming, shouting, swearing as they head to the clubs. They have no regard that people have jobs, children, or may be ill."

 

Resident, Waverley Road:

"Myself and the two other people I live with were affected by the noise. Mine and my partners bedroom is directly opposite [xx] Waverley Road and we could, therefore, hear everything and therefore not sleep. The music carried on until about 4am, which is obviously a massive inconvenience for us both in terms of sleep deprivation and stress of trying to deal with it in the middle of the night."

This resident says he went to the house at about 11pm:

"It quickly became apparent that I wouldn’t be able to talk to anyone as the music was too loud for them to hear the door knocker and there were so many people in there, frankly, I didn’t feel safe walking in to try to ask them to stop. There were a lot of people arriving throughout the evening, both by taxi and on foot—I would have thought that the party had been advertised and it seemed like they had some people dj-ing."

(The resident has also sent me a detailed account of his and his partners' attempts to get a response both from the police on 101, and from the university security services—somehow they found a number. None of these efforts produced a response. I will follow up on this detail, especially as I hope to have a meeting with the police shortly to discuss 101 responses, among other things.)

 

Resident, St. Ronan's:

"It started around 9 and was one of the loudest we’ve experienced."

(Resident has submitted formal complain to UoB.)

 

Resident, Waverley Road:

"The party started late on Friday 5th October and continued until about 5am the following morning. During this time we were subjected to a barrage of excessively loud dance music and shouting from the partygoers. On a personal level the excessive noise kept me awake all night and left me feeling fatigued and has caused me unnecessary stress. Basically it has ruined my weekend.

"I hope that the Students who organised this party come to see the error of their ways: namely that their selfish, thoughtless and disrespectful actions have caused a great deal of distress to many people. Living in a community is all about respect for your neighbours."

(Resident has submitted formal complain to UoB.)

 

Updated 08/10/2018:

—At least four residents have submitted formal complaints to UoB, as noted above. I have also submitted this report to UoB.

—UoB says the student tenants at [xx] Waverley have been called to a disciplinary meeting. (This is probably all we will hear; UoB doesn't reveal the outcomes of individual cases.)

—Further residents have contacted me, making at least 12 in total, in response to 50 leaflets distributed. (Correction: That should have been 10, not 12, when I wrote it, but two further responses mean that 12 is correct as of 09/10/18. Eight of the 50 leaflets went to student HMOs which I did not expect to respond—no harm in them knowing behaviour is under scrutiny—so the actual response rate is 12 out of 42.)

—Five respondents joined my mailing list; two were already subscribers.

—I understand some residents in this area set up a WhatsApp group some time ago. I'd be interested to know whether this group (or any others) have discussed any kind of community follow-up to the events of 6 October. I would particularly recommend that someone should be writing a complaint to the landlord—see the second button on the home page, "Party That's Finished", Step 3. I'm willing to help with this if required (and please copy me in if you send a complaint to the landlord or agents.)

 

Updated 09/10/2018:

I've corrected a number in the previous update (see above). A further two residents have responded:

 

Resident:

"The party ... kept me awake until 2am, at which point I decided to sleep in the kitchen where the bass and people noise was slightly reduced. I am recovering from a serious operation and woke up Saturday morning in a lot of pain, with a migraine, as a result of such a disturbed night’s sleep. That weekend consisted of me preparing for my viva—it is safe to say I was too exhausted to even contemplate reading through my thesis. I am sick to the teeth of the lack of respect for the community from these students. I am also fed up of feeling like nothing is being done from the University, police and council. I spent many an evening last year, on the phone to 101, clearly distressed, with no action from the police. ... I hope, as a community, we can encourage the students to respect their neighbours and behave appropriately."

 

Resident:

"I would like to add my comments to the recent details regarding the party on Waverley Road ... The students are getting more and more disruptive and anti-social with no consideration for residents many of which are families living in the immediate vicinity. There was also glass in the road from bottles smashed that required clearing up. UoB needs to take responsibility for this."

(Resident has sent a complaint to UoB.)

 

Updated 10/10/2018:

Resident (the 13th respondent to date) has sent a video of the party, taken at 4am from Kenilworth Road, 30m away (see link at top of article). Compared with past parties "the noise was much louder than ever before." Resident phoned 101 twice, first at shortly before midnight and again at 03:40am. "Was told that they’d already attended. I explained that they needed to go back as there was no change, and to be fair approx. 04.00 things died down to a degree and the windows were closed ..... I presumed that someone had therefore attended. ... By 5 it calmed down, but then the remaining few spilled out into the garden."

(This resident has also provided other details which I will investigate further before reporting.)

 

Updated 04/11/2018:

Some residents have received apologies from the students who held the party. A resident who wrote to the landlord, who lives outside Bristol, has also received an apology and an assurance that the tenants have been warned as to their future conduct.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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