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Protests after uni ballroom blitz on the neighbours

Angry resident Michael Miles
Angry resident Michael Miles

Oi! keep the noise down! That was the message from city residents after they were kept awake by a university summer ball. Complaints were made to the police and city council after booming drums and “deafening” music could be heard from the Canterbury Christ Church University event, held at its North Holmes Road campus on Friday. Retired fire engine and milk float driver Michael Miles, 73, said he could hear the din from the concert keeping him awake in his flat in Pine Tree Avenue. He said:

“It went on to 3am next morning. Just after 11pm it was very, very loud. After that there were the Chinese drums being played at about 11.55pm. I couldn’t have that keeping me up all night, so I rang the police. They told me they were sending some officers to check it out. But a couple of hours later the music still hadn’t died down.”

City councillor Alex Perkins
City councillor Alex Perkins

City councillor Alex Perkins (Lib Dem) said he has been inundated with complaints from residents across the city, some as far away as Harbledown and the University of Kent. He said:

“Students will say that it was only for one night a year. But this was ridiculous. It was deafening. Nobody should be making that amount of noise at that time of night. This was a stadium-sized gig in the middle of the ancient medieval city of Canterbury. It’s totally irresponsible. The issue is about licences, not having a go at students. In Canterbury we have licences until 4am for indoor venues, but this was outdoor. Next year they should move their ball indoors, or to a venue which won’t disturb the whole city.”

Scouting for Girls, one of the bands performing on the night
Scouting for Girls, one of the bands performing on the night

The sold-out event featured a lineup including Foxes, Scouting for Girls and Matrix & Future-bound between 8pm and 3am. It had been given a special events licence from Canterbury City Council, which has sparked anger from residents. Council assistant director Larissa Reed confirmed they had received complaints from resi dents across-the city. She said:

“We work closely with the organisers and the police to license these events. The issues were therefore not foreseen. The application was identical to previous years and it was agreed on that basis, given we have not had complaints in the past.”

She said the council has held talks with CCSU on Monday to try and find out what went wrong, and said they will change their approach next year. She added:

“We will be reviewing the licence for next year’s ball. This will mean putting conditions in place to ensure this kind of disturbance does not happen again, if indeed a licence is issued.”

Student Union issues apology

dStudents’ Union events co-ordinator Andrew Cameron defended the event. He said CCSU had worked closely with the council and police to ensure it stayed within licence requirements. He said:

“We would like to apologise to residents who experienced noise disruption. We have received veiy few complaints in the past, and our preparation was in keeping with previous years. We consulted with more than 400 residents near to our North Holmes Campus. We always employ professional sound enqineers to ensure levels are monitored and noise is kept to a minimum. As soon as we became aware of complaints we reduced the level of the music. The event was enjoyed by 2,000 students who celebrated completing another successful year with no other significant incidents being reported. In future we will work with the council and our sound engineers to ensure noise is kept to acceptable levels.”

Herne Bay Gazette, June 12th 2014

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