Council Powerless To Stop Late Night Noise

hugh town houses 2The Council has said it’s powerless to tackle late night noise and disorder in Hugh Town and they’ll be meeting with the local police team to discuss the situation.

The issue was raised at last Thursday’s Licensing Committee meeting. Discussions on a revised Licensing Policy were dominated by the problems caused by noisy revellers leaving pubs and antisocial behaviour in the streets.

The Council had consulted the public on what should be included in the policy.

Some residents reported problems with foul language, noise, alcohol bought in pubs being consumed in the street, deliberate breaking of glasses and “generally rowdy behaviour.”

They’d complained to the authority but felt little had been done to tackle the issue.

But the Senior Officer for Licensing Sue Pritchard told councillors that the authority could only deal with noise and issues occurring on licensed premises, “not 20 yards down the road.”

She said they had to look to the police for advice on that, as it was a crime and disorder issue.

Council Chairman Amanda Martin said she’d received “a body of correspondence” this summer from residents and visitors disturbed during the evenings.

And Cllr Avril Mumford, who lives and owns a business on Hugh Street, said the problem was “getting out of hand now.”

She complained about people urinating in doorways. “It’s disgusting and something has to be done about it,” she said.

Cllr Martin reported that some owners had put “doormat after doormat down.” Now they don’t bother because it’s always soaked in urine, she said.

She added that she’s seen glasses, bottles and cans, some with alcohol still in, all over Hugh Town, often as far out as the museum.

Amanda said someone needed to be enforcing the regulations, while Cllr Mollie Peacock wanted to see more of a police presence in the evenings.

But Sue said the islands’ police structure their day so they’re out on duty late at night, particularly in the summer months.

Cllr Mumford felt people in the community didn’t understand what the Council’s position was on this and she wanted to call a public meeting to discuss it.

Councillors agreed with that proposal.

And they’ll include a letter to landlords when the new licencing invoices go out. It will remind them about their responsibilities.

The Council will also discuss the problems raised with the islands’ police team.



5 Responses to Council Powerless To Stop Late Night Noise

  1. Jonny Exile December 5, 2014 at 7:07 am

    What I’m not understanding at the moment is why Amanda is saying nothing can be done yet other councils are able to employ Community Safety Wardens for exactly the role required. Why can’t we have one of those instead of yet another assistant’s assistant or another grant junkie for “Econ Dev”?

  2. Anonymous December 2, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    If people want the town to be run more like it is on the mainland then they have to be aware of the knock on effect of that, namely that most towns have a CCTV system to help police it. Now, is it really so bad we need CCTV hanging off lampposts? Your choice.

    For me it’s a non issue, nothing’s getting out of hand, and the councillors can probably look closer to home to find occasional perpetrators, maybe family members, almost certainly friends. I think the councillors forget what it’s like to be young, and they certainly forget the fights witnessed down the years involving fishermen. This is nothing like the old days, and if they’re not careful then they’ll run the pubs into the ground by over-legislating them based on the odd ‘noisy night’.

  3. Ian T. December 1, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Most towns have ‘alcohol free’ zones where it is illegal to consume alcohol at any time. This would, at least, give the police an additional power to control late night revelers.

    I have seen signs at pub exits, even on the pavement outside, reminding people that others may be wishing to sleep but, sadly, there is a certain element who will never have any consideration for others.

    Beats me as to how all these ‘poorly paid’ people that we hear so much about, can afford to spend vast sums on alcohol and cigarettes.

    • James Baker December 1, 2014 at 3:06 pm

      Ian,
      I spent the summer in the United States, where (at least where I went) it’s illegal to carry an open container of alcohol. This led to confusion – I remember a friend ditching a beer they’d just opened while walking between office buildings (ignorant of the law) at 5pm on a Friday. A police car was a block away and they didn’t want to get fined. This is exactly what you don’t want – people who aren’t causing trouble getting caught by over-zealous rule enforcers. It sends the wrong message.

      If you’re being drunk and disorderly, there are already laws for this purpose. Likewise for littering, public urination etc – if you’re caught by the police, you’re probably getting fined.

      • Ian T. December 3, 2014 at 11:06 am

        I lived in North Carolina for two years and found it quite simple to abide with the very strict laws of that state – just do it! I also lived in the centre of Hugh Town for some years and was continually awakened in the small hours by rowdy revelers who had no thought or respect for others.

        I have suggested that street lights are turned off at midnight, latest, to remind people that perhaps some want to sleep as they have to start work early in the morning. This is always resisted on ‘safety and security’ grounds yet thousands of small villages have no street lights whatsoever yet their residents are not murdered in their beds nor walking around swathed in bandages.

        Many mobile phones have a very efficient built in LED torch – what more do you need.?