'In the last four years, the noise problem has become impossible'
The toll that night-time student noise is taking on residents is captured vividly in this account from a resident. It's a story echoed in other emails I've received. In her own words (identifying details removed):
"I received your flyer ... and was delighted to see that someone is trying to do something about this ever increasing noise problem. I've lived on Hampton Road for over 11 years, and it was once a lovely place to live and raise my children. However, over the last four years or so, the noise problem has become impossible.
I have been trying to work out how to afford to move elsewhere. I am literally being driven from my home by this specific problem.
The issue ... is both local parties and marauding bands of drunk and screaming students, neither group showing any respect for their neighbours or the wider community.
This site aims to assist residents in Redland, Cotham, Kingswood, Clifton and other areas close to the University of Bristol that are popular with students but have a history of night-time noise disturbances. I am eager to work with local residents' groups. Join my email list to stay up to date—170 people have already signed up!
For those of us on Hampton Road, the marauding bands started out as a weekend problem, but have become an almost nightly occurrence. Worse, they now come in waves all night long, beginning around 10 or 11 pm, and on many nights continuing through until about 6 am.
For some reason, these groups often find the corner where I live a particularly pleasant place to stop for a while ... By the time a group moves on, I am wide awake and fuming, yet again. On a bad night this happens every two hours or so. On some nights, I scarcely sleep at all.
This past week, the first week of classes, my daughter was barely able to sleep due to house parties on both Tuesday, 2 October, and Wednesday, 3 October. Thumping base in particular kept her awake all night long, from about 10 pm until around 4:30 am, on both nights. My daughter works full time and her ability to work was substantially disrupted on Wednesday and even more so by Thursday.
When this problem was limited to weekends it was bad enough; one could try to adjust, to make allowances, to amend sleep patterns to make up for the weekends. That has become impossible now that this assault has become a nightly event."
As we near the end of the first term of academic year 2018-19, the number of incidents recorded on this website has now reached the 50-mark—see the full Incident list here.
It's too early to say whether this year will prove worse than academic 2017-18 (see chart). Much will depend on the kind of support residents receive from the universities, the police and the council. The chart is based on University of Bristol figures for complaints for the full year, across all the districts bordering the university. One suspects the number of incidents is larger, and of course we need a matching tally for noise cases involving students of the University of the West of England, who also live in this area. (The list on this website covers incidents, not all of which resulted in complaints; some do involve UWE students; and the geographical focus is mainly on the Chandos and Ravenswood areas. So the list is not directly comparable with the UoB figures.)
I will keep pushing for better responses from the authorities. At the start of term, I revamped the website to provide more-useful information, and make it easier to find. (There's more work still to do!) The buttons on the home page are there to help you respond to noise incidents. I ask you to let me know if you've been affected by a noise problem, and to copy me in if you submit a complaint to the university. I'm also interested to know what responses you get if you contact the police or council—especially if you ring the police on 101.
Also, please alert me as soon as possible if you come across one of the new breed of Very Large Parties, characterised by doormen outside, very loud music, and large numbers in attendance. If one of these events is in progress, please let me know. I'm usually contactable until at least 1am. These big events should be the top priority for action, and they're the ones where I think the police are most likely to intervene. (But we shall see .... ) They're also the ones most likely to generate media coverage, which could be helpful to us in getting the authorities to wake up and act.
If you want to comment about anything on the site (or anything you think is missing!), feel free to drop me an email at email@example.com. I'm happy to publish articles by other people on the same basis that you might submit, say, a Letter to the Editor of a newspaper, or a signed contribution—in other words, I retain editorial control, but am happy to publish other views (not necessarily ones I agree with) in order to facilitate discussion.