First Person: Years of being a neighbour to the noisy
The writer would like to give her name, but thinks it’s safer to keep quiet. If only her neighbour would...
Dear neighbour, Almost daily, I feel like I am on holiday in some budget hotel in a generic European resort. Sleep eludes my toddler at nap times. My windows rattle to the sound of your trance music. As a little embellishment, you also drum on the walls or on furniture. How do I know this? Years of experience of being a neighbour to the noisy.
Being a homeowner flanked by houses converted to flats, sadly this is what we have dealt with many times over the years.
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Don't think there's anything special about your particular nuisance, dear neighbour. I have lived alongside gospel singing students, a very sexually active lady who was particularly noisy, people hot-bedding (two sets of tenants in one flat, working opposite shifts), enthusiastic cricket fans who watched matches live from the other side of the world at 3am and a musical combo consisting of electric guitar, keyboard and accordion.
There were even some I was convinced were running a takeaway food service, judging by the comings and goings, cooking smells and noises of a busy working kitchen.
This is only a small snapshot. And, dear neighbour, I like a bit of trance music. Right place, right time and all that.
So what have I done? The direct number for the council's noise nuisance staff is in my phone. I went through a period of contacting them so often the response was: "Oh dear, it's you again."
Except it was yet a different noise from a new neighbour. One previous neighbour had equipment confiscated. Numerous others have had warning letters from the council.
I have tried to talk to people – in some cases proves problematic due to work/sleep patterns, language barriers and concern for my safety.
Given the transient nature of almost all the population around me – poorly-maintained flats or overpriced ones, neither seem to keep tenants for very long – often when noise gets so bad you need to take action, the perpetrator moves on.
This is going to keep happening. Rents increase, students come and go and it seems the less time spent in a place, the less respect for it.
This is not in some downtrodden part of town. This is in a conservation area, in a quiet street, where about eight years ago a one-bedroom flat was £650 a month.
Dear neighbour, today your music made my windows shake. In case you are wondering, there is a solution. Get a tent and in the summer go to music festivals. All of them. Play your trance music loud and proud. I may even join you. Right place, right time and all that.