Oxford's noisy neighbours

The number of complaints about noisy parties and loud music in Oxford has jumped 20%.

In 2008, 1,581 compaints were received but a year later it grew to 1,902. The City Council, who have released the figures, say  they don't know the reason behind the rise.

The figures cover all noise complaints in Oxford, but it's thought students are responsible for many of them.  The City Council's Environmental Team have met with Oxford Brookes students to talk about respecting their neighbours.

They say they want to raise awareness among students about the impact the noise can have on neighbourhoods and give tips about how to be considerate members of the community.

Karen Seal, Team Leader for the Environmental Protection Team at the City Council, has told Heart the advice they're giving students includes telling neighbours before you have a party and making sure one house isn't always the party house.

Barbara Gorayska, who lives in East Oxford, says students need have respect for their neighbours: "We have parties every night. You know they are so loud and so happy. It's wonderful that they are so happy, but night after night, it really is sometimes unbearable."

Responding to the complaints about student noise, Dr Anne Gwinnett, from Oxford Brookes University said:

"Oxford Brookes University works proactively with residents, the City Council and police to address concerns over noise. Only a small proportion of complaints the Council receives will be about Brookes students but it is an issue we take extremely seriously."

She added: "We don't solely rely on the complaints process to solve this problem."

But Barbara Gorayska, who was a lecturer at Brookes for many years, told Heart one of the problems with reporting noise is neither university takes responsibilty for the students.

Before a complaint is processed the universities want clear evidence of which university they belong to before taking action. But when asked she and her fellow residents have asked, many students refuse to give out their details.

She said the noise is beginning to drive people out of the area: "Frankly everybody's tired of complaining. We've done it for 10 years. You just resign yourself to the situation and it's very sad that many residents just move out."

She wants more integration between students and the local community so they get an equal understanding of each other. She added, "I would be very surprised if the same students (who make the noise) wouldn't mind parties all around when they wanted peace and quiet to study."

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