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► Collingwood, 18 Nov: Party held despite warnings

(18041) Large student party in terraced house on west side of street. News of this event began to circulate several days previously. Two residents sent me copies of notices they had received through their letterboxes. Although the notes offered promises to keep the noise under control, there was no mention of a finishing time, which is usually a sign it will be an all-night event.

Contact between residents and the students later yielded the information that 100 guests were expected, a DJ was being hired, windows would be soundproofed, and a doorman would be on duty.

I offered the residents various suggestions regards follow-up, and helped with some emailing. By the day of the party, we had completed several steps:

  • contacted the University of Bristol, which sent a message to the students "advising them to make sure that their party is proportionate for a residential setting in terms of time, volume and numbers and reminding them of the consequences of receiving complaints."

  • passed details to the neighbourhood policing team, who said they would call at the house before the party. Details of the intended scale of the event were passed on later, when they became known.

  • contacted the landlord, who lives in Wiltshire. He agreed to send an email to the students.

On the night, I went to Collingwood Road at about 11-30pm (on the 17th), just in time to see almost 30 people going to the house. Over the next hour or so, this rose to about 50-plus. I have no way of knowing how many others might already have been inside.

The music volume was initially quite subdued, and in any case was being drowned (until about 1am) by a party across the street—see separate report. I saw one set of neighbours speak to students at the house to try to negotiate for control of the noise. Later another resident hammered angrily on the door. She later told me she had been woken by beat music travelling along the rear of the properties.

I spoke to an organiser of the party a couple of times to express my concerns about the event.

For most of the night, the music volume seemed quite low, at least as heard from the street, though it did creep up after 2am. However, the sound coming from the rear of the house was noticeably higher, as experienced in Melville, Hampton and Chandos Roads. Generally there were few people outside the property and they seemed to make a conscious effort to be relatively quiet. However, at around 2-30am, some groups started leaving. Some of these caused noise in the street, despite earlier assurances they would be well managed. I saw one young man using someone's garden as a urinal. I was last in the street at about 3am.

In the aftermath, two residents have sent complaints to the University of Bristol:

First resident: "The last time I tried to speak to No. [x] (they had a bouncer on the door) was at about 2.30 am—they turned the music down a little but the vibrations kept me awake till 3 am (and we live at the other end of the street). Needless to say that our weekend is completely messed up and I started my morning with paracetamol!"

Second resident: "Despite this group of students warning us in advance they failed to keep to their promises. They assured us that they would keep people off the street and be completely finished by 2.00am—they were still making noise at 3.00am and there were bottles and mess in the street this morning. We have lived in Collingwood Road for over 20 years and each year the behaviour of your students deteriorates."

I had contact with a third resident on Monday. She was adamant that the party had not been a problem—she and her husband had not been kept awake. The students were nice people and had been very considerate. We had all been young once, and she thought it was wrong to make complaints, especially as it was a student area.

Several other residents I have spoken to take a very different view even if, for a variety of reasons, they have not made complaints about this particular event.


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