Thursday, 23 July 2009

I Guess You’d Have Had More Luck If They Were Morris-Dancing...

…rather than screaming like banshees:
Council inspectors are investigating a Roman Catholic primary school after complaints about the noise levels.

Officials from a noise pollution team were brought in after neighbours claimed they were being confined inside their homes due to the "unbearable" screams of laughter from the youngsters.
Hmmm, surely if you live near a school, you must expect a certain amount of noise?

Still, the response from the head does seem rather dismissive:
Headmaster John Thorpe said his school took all possible steps to be a good neighbour and he had changed the sound of the school bell in a bid to appease the neighbours who have also complained about footballs being kicked against the playground's mesh fence.

He said: "Children have to be educated somewhere and there are obvious good reasons why it should take place in residential areas.

"Bearing that in mind, it is inevitable that there will be a range of different responses to that from residents.

"We have always adopted a good neighbour policy and done whatever we can to mitigate disturbances.

"Some people will say that the sound of children laughing and playing together can be quite uplifting.

"As a teacher, I think it's good to hear children running around and thoroughly enjoying their lives."
And some people will say the noise of children running around and enjoying themselves is pretty intolerable, Johnny boy, particularly since most children’s dials these days go all the way to 11 and stay there, regardless of location.

I was once unfortunate enough to be on a Tube train when a school outing got on, and they proceeded (totally uncorrected by any of the teachers with them) to make such a din that driver and station announcements couldn’t be heard, and you could barely hear yourself think.

So I have a bit of sympathy with the residents:
But neighbour Bill Disley whose house is only a few yards away from the school playground, said: "The noise is unbearable.

"People always say 'oh, well kids have got to make noise'. I've got six grandchildren and I know kids make noise, but this is unbearable.

"We can't sit outside now, we can't open doors and windows. The neighbours feel exactly the same way."
Wouldn’t they have got used to this by now, tho…

The neighbours said the noise problem started in 2007, when the old Moss primary school was extended and merged with two other schools, St Andrew's and St Osmund's.

The site went from housing only a handful of pupils to having more than 380, as well as a nursery. Mr Disley has now spent more than £5,000 trying to block the noise out from his property and hiring expert consultants to measure noise levels.
Well, that puts a different complexion on things, doesn’t it?

This is the equivalent of a pub venue being granted a license for a small amount of live music, over no objections from the neighbours, then promptly expanding this agreement to host a Van Halen concert. Every weekday.

What has the council got to say for itself, since it’s policies have directly led to the situation Mr Disley and his neighbours now find themselves in?
A Bolton council spokesman said: "We have listened to the concerns of Mr Disley and sympathise with his situation.

"The council's pollution control unit has carried out several noise assessments at his property and while we understand the noise is annoying to the individual, it does not constitute a statutory noise nuisance.

"A report on the situation is due to be considered later this month."

It’s different when it’s the council doing it, and not just some of you serfs looking to have a good time


Rob said...

I think these whinging cunts should get a life. It happens during breaks, which including lunch add up to, what, 90 minutes a day?

'screams' of laughter? 'Unbearable'? Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Sorry but the sympathy meter is reading zero.

Who are these misanthropic grumps?

They (and we) should be relieved that children are still allowed to play outside, rather than being kept under lock and key for fear of the mad axeman or the kiddy fiddler.

And Rob, yes, 90 minutes a day - for five days a week and about thirty weeks of the year. Unbearable? I think not.

woman on a raft said...

No, limited sympathy from me, too.

It's a reasonable prediction that if you buy a house with a school at the back, that school might become bigger and noisier. It might also be shut and redeveloped for housing, which would give you permanent traffic movements as opposed to shutting down for 13 weeks a year.

Mr Disley benefitted from having a spacious village-type school behind his house; a benefit for which he paid nothing beyond his normal rates. It isn't a benefit to which he is entitled; he - and the other neighbours - just got a bit of extra jam for free.

The fact is the nature of areas changes over time and nobody is immune from it, although people often act as if they, uniquely, should be excused from change whilst still scooping up the benefits of other people doing so.

Mr Disley is not getting good financial or legal advice. He now owns a house within walking distance of a popular Catholic school. If he is very lucky it will be over-subscribed, meaning his property can now command a premium, even in a falling market.

Instead of wasting money on trying to block a sound which I, personally, doubt is as bad as they say (having worked on sites with 300 children) even if it means the little poppets going out three times a day and screaming their lungs out, then good - it's much more important that they have a good old shout and then go back and be quiet in lessons.

If Mr Disley seeks the quiet of a retirement home, this is his best chance to move to one.


The school is at Falkirk Drive, Brightmet, Bolton, BL2 6NW. Easy to google and have a look at the houses and satellite pictures.

The school buildings sit squarely at the middle of the site and has a generous skirt of green. Personally, I wouldn't have directed the traffic down Falkirk Drive, which puts an unwarranted strain on the residents, but would have put a new entry from Brodick Drive, where there aren't any residents (yet) yet to bother. However, no doubt the planners had their reasons.

I simply don't believe some of the complaints. The houses on Falkirk Drive have the road between the school and their houses, and that is to the front garden - so it wouldn't affect their ability to sit out at the back.

There are about half a dozen houses at the far end of Falkirk Drive which could be affected, but again, these are front gardens, so their back gardens would be blocked from the sound.

The houses most likely to be affected would be on the righthand side of the map, are a dozen in Kilbride Avenue. They have gardens backing on to the site and the gardens don't seem particularly long - about two or three car-lengths. There is some existing hedging and fencing, but as the hard playground surface reaches to within about 8 feet of the boundary it would be quite likely that footballs would go over the fences sometimes.

If you look at the satellite picture, it would only cost a few thousand in groundwork and planting to build a earth-bank on that 8ft strip and top it with nice thick bushes, a traditional nature hedgerow which would be a wildlife resource for the school and everybody else.

The mound need not be higher than about four feet, the bushes about eight feet on top, it would absorb most of the noise withn 3 years, and keeping the height limited to 12ft would not block any more light than the gardens aleady accept in their own hedging and fences.

They could probably get the EU or somebody to pay for it as an enviromental improvement.

What ever, they should just bloody stop whinging because children do have to be educated somewhere and it is intrinsically noisy.

JuliaM said...

"'screams' of laughter? 'Unbearable'? Jesus."

I'd probably have thought so too, if I hadn't heard the frankly appalling din a small group of children could make, unchecked.

"Who are these misanthropic grumps?"

People who'd like to live in their houses unpeturbed by frankly awful levels of noise?

"The fact is the nature of areas changes over time and nobody is immune from it.."

I'd be happy with that. So, we can tell that to the people that objected to the Gooseberry Pie Fair in Galmpton, then?

Because if not, it smacks very much of 'one rule for thee, but not for me'.

JuliaM said...

That's some impressive satellite detective work though!