Good reception for ‘shh patrols’

Plymouth’s ‘shhh patrols’ had a good reception from students as they hit potential noise hot spots during Freshers’ Week.

The team was out in the city centre, Mutley, Greenbank and Mount Gould to advise noisy students new to Plymouth to turn the dial down and think about their neighbours.

The patrols, which involved the Council, the police and university staff took place over three nights last week and responded to a number of call outs from residents using a specially set up hotline.

Environmental Health Officer Patrick Vawdrey said: “Overall, the houses we went to were very receptive to what we were saying. It is mainly lack of awareness about how far noise carries.”

On Monday night visits were made to properties in May Terrace, Greenbank Avenue, Knotte Street, Hill Park Crescent and Salisbury Road; on Wednesday there were six visits including complaints about a party in North Road East, while on Thursday visits were made to six properties, including a very large party on Apsley Road.

Councillor Philippa Davey, Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities said: “The friendly approach is working. We want students here. They really add youth and vitality to the city, but sometimes they forget they are living in homes with neighbours who are shift workers, have young families or simply need a good night’s sleep.

“Nearly all of those students our patrol spoke to just didn’t consider the impact they were having on their new neighbours. We are continuing to keep an eye on things and if people are experiencing problems they should get in touch.“

There has been a drop in the number of complaints. In 2013 and 2014 there were 141 complaints, this dropped to 123 last year.

Council staff were at this year’s Freshers’ Fair to hand out information to students about noise nuisance as well as offer practical advice about rubbish, when and where to put out bins and what to recycle. Council staff will be returning next week to a housing event being held at the Student Union, where advice will be given on ‘how to be a good neighbour’.

Information on how to be a good neighbour was sent to over 300 landlords and managing agents registered with the university, who agreed to forward to new tenants moving in.

The university changed its code of conduct for students so that they can now take disciplinary action if necessary. If there is evidence of statutory nuisance or anti-social behaviour the Council can take enforcement action against the culprits.

Last year 94 per cent of noise complaints received were resolved by speaking to the students, providing advice and working with the landlords.