Residents in Brighton and Hove have set up a campaign against noisy students after five undergraduates from Brighton University drove a woman to sleep in her car.
The students in question were taken to Brighton Magistrates Court on 17 January and all pleaded guilty to the charge of breaching the council noise abatement notice after being previously warned.
They were each fined £58, forced to pay court costs of £742 plus a victim surcharge of £15. This is not the first complaint against students causing noise and anti-social behaviour.
The campaign known as ‘Brighton Peace’ is appealing to anybody who might have had a similar experience in the local area or even in the rest of the UK to come forward.
The campaigners want to discover whether student noise and anti-social behaviour is a national problem and if so what other student cities have done to combat it with hopes to improve the situation in Brighton and Hove.
Joy Panteli, a grandmother in her 60s, lived next door to the students and commented: “many people dread the annual September term because they never know what sort of students they are going to get next door”. She also attributes the problem to landlords and letting agents who neglect to deal with their own tenants and Joy believes they should be doing more.
Incidents like this have led ‘Brighton Peace’ to create a list of measures they believe should be put into practice.
These include the creation of a monthly forum where resident representatives, students, landlords, community workers and the police can communicate with senior university managers to voice their concerns. They also want universities to employ a full-time liaison officer who would visit homes that have been reported as causing problems.
They aim to raise awareness through the creation of an information board placed on the front door of any student house reminding students of their legal obligations with regards to noise and anti social behaviour.
In response, the Students’ Union commented that they were already in the planning stages of creating an online forum, known as Virtual Local Action Teams, which would work with students to help improve their local areas.
However they were concerned by a council memo which states: “Where students continue to cause noise problems the Universities have stopped students finishing their degrees and courses”.
A spokesperson for the Campaign for a Quiet Night has revealed that they have had over 50 complaints since their appeal for information and that their aim is not to victimise students but to find a way to address the problem.
Brighton and Hove Council say that the noise nuisance is usually due to amplified music being played ‘too loud, too long and too late’ and after serving a legal notice they have the power to remove any noise-making equipment from the property.
The council already has a student housing strategy, which was announced in November 2009 that aims to ‘ensure that students are integrated into established residential communities in ways that do not unbalance local population structures and housing markets’.
The Brighton Peace group want to work with the council to mend the broken relationship between residents and students so that everyone can live in Brighton in harmony.