My End of Year Retrospective of Hyde Park

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Sue Buckle, long term resident of Hyde Park shares her thoughts about the end of term, students departure and how students are viewed by permanent residents.

It’s that time of year again- gardens are lovely with spring blossom and on pavements, black bags overflowing with clothes charity shops would be glad of. The universities terms are nearly over and soon our student neighbours will be on the move.

It’s sad to say goodbye to the students who’ve become friends, even though we’ve never had the promised coffee or drink together due to busy lives.  My immediate neighbours have been great, considerate and friendly, and I wish they were staying another year. The ones on the street who’ve woken people up after midnight with loud, shrieking discussions about who’s going in which taxi or who’ve resolutely refused/forgotten to put their bins back in gardens- we can live without!

So far, Bank Holiday Monday, it’s been pretty quiet with only a few occasional loud boozey voices late at nights. We empathise with the euphoria of ending exams, but if only the lucky ones would remember the poor souls still revising for their exams. Local school children are still revising for their GCSE and A-level exams. Friends from a neighbouring street report “bearable noise” so far, but are bracing themselves for the next few weeks. Even the benefits of Hyde Park Christmas- the piles of discarded clothes, furniture, household items and food- don’t make up for the misery of sleep deprivation. Especially when you have an early start the next day or been told “This is a student area. Why don’t you move?”

Going back to bins- yesterday, walking up Victoria Road with my two adult daughters visiting their old home for the weekend, we had to step around the mess from bins overturned by we assume bladdered idiots on their way home. Festering rubbish including so much discarded food all over the pavement! This morning, three Council staff were picking up and bagging every smelly item- at a cost to the cash strapped Council! In a queue at the Cardigan Road Co-Op recently a friend overheard two students discussion on what a trash heap Hyde Park was. O the irony….

BUT, coming up my street today I chatted to some students who are staying next year, all done with exams apart from one. They’re keeping our recent street-flyer and will be following our tips to pass on their edible food to our Real Junk Food Project down at All Hallows Church, plus any other unwanted stuff which is reusable or recyclable.

When its near to the end of June, my washing machine will be on most days with binned clothes to pass on to charity shops and the South Headingley Community Association table top stall at Kirkstall Festival and Unity Day will benefit from all the stuff that students or their parents cars can’t fit in. Hopefully these will come straight to me, rather than via the bins!

Then it’s a peaceful summer with those of us whose home is here getting the chance to know better the students here over the summer- before October, and another 200+ new neighbours to try to get to know and welcome to the Hyde Park community!

Myth Busting the House Party

My top tip to any student thinking of holding a house party is to think carefully whether you are likely to cause any offence or nuisance to those living around you- remember loud music can travel some distance and will affect more than your immediate neighbours.   

I’ve heard many DIY solutions that students have tried in the past to try and prevent the noise from the DJ’s and professional sound systems being heard. No amount of cardboard or mattresses pressed against windows will prevent your neighbours from hearing exactly what is going on! Especially if your guest list extends to 100+ people who will be in and out of your property and causing a disturbance as they make their way home through the neighbourhood in the early hours. And of course, I wouldn’t have this knowledge if it wasn’t for the University receiving numerous complaints about noise and having to speak to the students involved.

Here are a few more common misconceptions about house parties that I have come across.

1. The noise has to exceed a certain decibel level for action to be taken. NOT TRUE! A sound meter isn’t even used. The University and Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team make an assessment based on who your neighbours are and how noise is impacts on the wellbeing of your neighbours.

2. Action can only be taken over noise that happens at night.  NOT TRUE! Noise is more of a problem for people after 11pm but action can be taken for noise at any time. Even at low levels if you have a neighbour that is more sensitive to noise, such as an elderly neighbour.

3. If I can hear the noise, investigators can take action. TRUE! If the noise is audible outside of your house, there is a good chance it’s loud enough to cause a problem for your neighbours.  Turn the volume down!

4. Having Bouncers will limit the number of people crashing your party and prevent problems with your neighbours. NOT TRUE! Bouncers are more likely to scare off your neighbours when they call around to let you know there is a problem.  Being able to speak to your neighbours direct about any issues as they arise is a far better way of dealing and resolving disputes. Disciplinary and enforcement action is a far worse consequence of making a mistake than having to apologise to the people living next door.

5. If you create excessive noise you are breaking the law. TRUE! Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team can take enforcement action that includes the confiscation of equipment, house closure notices, fines and a criminal conviction.

6. If I let my neighbours know that I’m having a party then no action can be taken. NOT TRUE! I would always advise that you speak with your neighbours in advance of having your friends over and share your contact details. However, residential streets are no place for a party that continues past midnight and has over 30 guests at any time!  Your neighbours are still likely to make a complaint if your event is too big, too loud and goes on too late.

7. Its my birthday, a one off party isn’t going to hurt anyone. NOT TRUE! If every student has a house party for their birthday then that means  a lot of parties and a lot of lost sleep! Take your celebrations in to town or book a venue to hold your party.

8. Hyde Park is a student area, its okay to have house parties. NOT TRUE! Hyde Park is home to many different residents. No street is completely student only. We also receive as many complaint from students as other residents about house parties!

9. I moved into a property next to a noisy neighbour so I guess I have to put up with it. NOT TRUE! Let us know if you are experiencing a problem through our Helpline. You may not be the only person affected by the noise!

10. I can’t have my friends over at any time as my neighbours will complaint. NOT TRUE! No one is likely to object to your having your friends over if you do so in a reasonable way. Would you really like to live next door to a party animal if you had to be up for work or lectures at 9am?

For information on the University’s procedures in handling off-campus issues see my earlier Blog for details on the joint action being taken by the Council and Police to tackle noisy parties.

Why Being Noisy Can Land You In Trouble

Noise from celebratory parties is a particular issue in local communities at this time of year. Whilst the University appreciates that students will want to enjoy and celebrate the end of their exams, this should be done in a  way that does not cause distress and disturb nearby residents. The University and Leeds Antisocial behaviour Team have implemented procedures to respond to noisy parties and ensure that everyone is able to enjoy their home without being upset by the actions of others.

How is Noise Nuisance Dealt with?

Noise nuisance has a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of those affected. Many factors effect this; frequency, time of day, location, duration and how many people are effected. It is a statutory nuisance at any time, day or night. Noise nuisance is a criminal offence and enforcement action can be taken by the Leeds Anti-Social Behaviour Team against any household which is causing a nuisance.  This could result in a criminal conviction, confiscation of any noise-making equipment, issue a closure order/notice on a property and impose financial penalties.

The Police may take action with respect to any crime and disorder. The team will be providing additional  out of hours patrols in the local area up to the end of June to respond directly to complaints of noise.

The University may also take disciplinary against students whom behave in a way which persistently causes distress to their neighbours and brings into question the reputation of the university. For the University’s procedures see the Neighbourhood Helpline Code.

Tips to Avoid Noise Complaints Being Made Against You

  • Noise can be a statutory nuisance at any time but the hours between 11pm and 8am are particularly noise sensitive. Please be more aware during these times.
  • Regular late-night disturbances, even at weekends, are likely to result in complaints.
  • As a matter of courtesy call around to your neighbours in advance of a party to let them know and agree on an end time.
  • Keeping doors and windows closed, especially in warm weather, will help to limit noise levels.
  • If you or any guests are outside (e.g. having a BBQ, playing sports in the street, smoking or waiting for taxis) please keep the volume to a minimum. Keep equipment away from adjoining walls and raised off the floor.
  • If you play a musical instrument, speak to your housemates and neighbours and agree a time that you can practice without disturbing them or book rehearsal rooms.
  • If you do get a visit from a neighbour, Police or Council Officer, remain calm and polite.

For practical tips and advice on how to avoid causing any problems for your neighbours and to avoid enforcement action, take a look at the Living in Leeds Guide.

Are your noisy neighbours keeping you awake at night?

If you home life or studies are being affected by a noisy neighbour, help is at hand to get you a good night’s sleep.  The University is working with Leeds City Council’s Antisocial Behaviour Team and the other universities and colleges in the City to minimise noise nuisance in local communities. Whether the noise is a one-off, a regular occurrence, during the day or an evening, you can receive help by reporting the nuisance to the services detailed below. For practical tips on parties to avoid causing any problems for your neighbours and enforcement action, take a look at our Students in Communities webpages. 

Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team

Statutory noise nuisance is investigated by Leeds Antisocial Behaviour Team.  They can be contacted through the following.

Noise that happens during the day:
Complete the online form or call the team on 0113 222 4402, 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Noise that happens at night or at weekends/bank holidays:
The Council operates a night-time response service in partnership with West Yorkshire Police. If the problem is noise outside of office hours, please ring 0113 376 0337. This is available from 6pm to 3:30am. Noise at night-time should only be reported when the noise is occurring. The service availability is subject to demand and although they may not be able to stop the noise for you, they may provide further evidence to back up your allegations.

Universities and Colleges Neighbourhood Helpline

The Helpline is a 24-hour dedicated voicemail and email service operated by the University of Leeds in partnership with Leeds Beckett University, Leeds Trinity University College, Leeds City College and Leeds College of Music.   The Helpline is a service for all members of the local community to help resolve any neighbourhood problems involving our students and to build better relationships between neighbours.

Get in touch with us if your are experiencing any problem with your student neighbours. We can work with you and prevent this from becoming a recurring issueContact Us: by telephone (24hr voicemail service): 0113 343 1064, by Email:  neighbourhood.helpline@leeds.ac.uk , or complete our online form.

 

Sustainable Garden – Yorkshire in Bloom Preparation

Calling all Staff, Students and local people: The University has been entered for the Yorkshire in Bloom competition and we need your help to make the garden look its best.

You can come along for a short time or the whole session, no experience needed.  There’s always some produce to take home and lots of opportunities to ask questions, learn new skills, share ideas and get stuck in to growing tasty organic vegetables.  It’s a great way to chill out, do something new and meet new friends in a beautiful space.

All are welcome and refreshments are provided. We also provide tools, tea and snacks and there are toilets nearby.

If you aren’t sure where we are text/call 07706643035.

Sustainable Garden – Yorkshire in Bloom Preparation

Calling all Staff, Students and local people: The University has been entered for the Yorkshire in Bloom competition and we need your help to make the garden look its best.

You can come along for a short time or the whole session, no experience needed.  There’s always some produce to take home and lots of opportunities to ask questions, learn new skills, share ideas and get stuck in to growing tasty organic vegetables.  It’s a great way to chill out, do something new and meet new friends in a beautiful space.

All are welcome and refreshments are provided. We also provide tools, tea and snacks and there are toilets nearby.

If you aren’t sure where we are text/call 07706643035.

Sustainability Architects 2015/16

Amy

Hello – I’m Amy, one of the four new Sustainability Architects here at the University of Leeds. My role as part of the Sustainability team is to encourage and promote student and community engagement with all things sustainable!

As part of this I hope to continue to develop the role of a “Sustainability Representative” within each school.  Their role would be to put sustainability on the agenda by integrating knowledge of it into teaching and assessments, promoting sustainable practice within their school and departmental society encouraging other students to get involved, share their ideas and help to develop new initiatives for both environmental and social sustainability.

Being from Leeds, I understand how important it is to integrate students with the local community. There is no better way of doing this than through sustainability! I aim to do this by promoting  volunteering and community engagement projects within the University and Union setting – bringing to the attention of students what is available for them to get involved in around Leeds.

I hope to create an environment where students feel they are able to get involved with sustainability and make a difference!

 

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Hey I’m Will, a second year Environmental Science student at the University of Leeds. I am planning to take a year out of University during my third year, hoping to gain more valuable experience in sustainable roles. As well as representing the sustainability service at events, I hope to increase student engagement in sustainable practices, particularly focusing my efforts on halls of residences and sport societies.

 

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Hi I’m Shara, I am currently studying my masters in Sustainability and Consultancy here at the University of Leeds. My undergraduate degree was in International Relations and my dissertation looked at environmental change and energy security in the European Union. After taking a break from University to work and travel, I started to look into sustainability in a wider context, which lead me back to higher education.

This year I hope to increase the range of individuals engaged in sustainability; moving it out of traditional circles and into mainstream discussions so it’s accessible for everyone.

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My name is Ileyas Mogeh and I am a student sustainability architect. I am currently on my second year of BA Politics. Being a sustainability architect is an exciting way to make a positive impact in your community. As an architect, you are able to do this through your area of interest, for example in my case this is democracy. This ensures that the role is enjoyable, whilst also challenging and developing your knowledge of sustainability within higher education . By August, I hope to have helped embedded sustainability in the student community through increased participation in democratic activities.

IntoUniversity visit

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The Sustainability Service recently hosted a workshop for students from IntoUniversity (http://intouniversity.org/) on the importance of biodiversity.

The session started with an introductory activity on biodiversity and its importance, then the students were asked to become landscape designers for the day and design new flower beds for our campus, encouraging them to use their knowledge of different species and their role in the ecosystem. They were also given some guidance before designing the flower beds such as examples of plant species that could be planted on campus and incest species that could be attracted to the flowers.

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The workshop not only allowed the students to embrace their creativity, it allowed them to work in teams and make decisions together about the design of the flower beds.

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The 3 final winners will be picked soon and they will be planted at the entrance of the Parkinson building in spring to enhance biodiversity on campus. Don’t forget to follow our blog and social media accounts for updates on the designs.

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BIG Campus Bird Watch 2018

Birdwatch 2018
On the 26th January 2018 we held our seventh annual ‘Big Campus Bird Watch’. Thanks to all staff and students who came out to help us identify the bird species on campus and help us with our biodiversity work. 

Completing the Survey
You can do the survey in any area of campus you like.  If you have the time and enthusiasm, you are more than welcome to submit multiple forms for different areas of campus! You can complete the survey in a variety of ways.  We would encourage electronic reporting wherever possible and have set up an electronic form that you can find by clicking here.  Alternatively, you can download a copy of the form, along with a guidance sheet below and email to sustainability@leeds.ac.uk, or post in the internal post to Sustainability Service, Facilities Directorate Building, Cloberry Street, Leeds, LS2 9BT. We will post the results of the survey on our website later in the spring.

Happy Surveying!