Call For More Action On Late Night Noise

Paul Charnock

Paul Charnock

Late night noise in Hugh Town is worse than it was three years ago and police should be present in Hugh Street at pub closing time to prevent anti-social behaviour.

That’s the view of Paul Charnock, who lives at The Bank.

Paul says his neighbours also believe that the disturbance is getting worse and doesn’t feel that the authorities are doing enough to tackle it.

He says he wants people to have fun and doesn’t mind them laughing and joking in the street up to 11pm.

But he feels that he has witnessed behaviour in the small hours, such as urinating in doorways and scuffles, that is not acceptable in Scilly, especially at that time.

Paul believes this “is not a good advertisement” for people who come to the islands for the peace and quiet and feels it could affect some tourism businesses.

He says he has complained to the Council but they have told him that if noise occurs more than 30 meters from licenced premises then “it’s not their problem.”

They’ve suggested that he keeps a diary documenting when there has been a disturbance.

Paul wants the Council and Police to work together to tackle the problem and to stop “passing the buck.”

The Council’s press office says that the Authority has always acted in line with their Licensing Act powers in relation to the licensing of premises.

They have appointed a full time Environmental Health Officer who can monitor and enforce issues that fall under the Council’s control.

And they say that if evidence of consistent and sustained noise is found then enforcement action can be taken against licensed premises.

Sergeant Colin Taylor recently said that his team won’t try to hush revellers because if they are standing in Hugh Street each night, it means they can’t address other priorities.

But Mr Charnock says that locals identified tackling late night noise as their number one priority in a Community Safety Partnership survey six years ago. And he’d like it prioritised again.

Sgt Taylor says that police shifts do cover both early and late hours and he takes Paul’s points seriously. The police say they are sharing reports on disorder with the Town Hall licensing team.

Colin also says he took Cllr Fran Grottick, a member of the Licensing Committee, on a late night patrol in August so she could see what happens in town after dark.

During that shift an adult was issued a fine for urinating in the street.



24 Responses to Call For More Action On Late Night Noise

  1. Marcela September 21, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    I think the only way to deal with the late night noise is to ring the chairman/chairperson, at home, of which ever committee granted the licence when the noise occurs, usually between 11.30pm and 2am. It will only take one or two phone calls before the message kicks in. If you want to grant a late licence then enjoy the misery that goes with it!

    • Decibel September 24, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      Time was that the Council used to send an officer out to deal with noise complaints.

  2. Ewart September 19, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Paul,
    I would suggest, you contact the Councils’ newly appointed Environmental Health Officer.
    The Council has a duty under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to take action regarding noise and litter.

    • Sheila Thomas September 20, 2015 at 10:48 pm

      I have spoken to this gentleman – he offered me a sheet to record when I was disturbed by late night noise, cannot take direct action without complaints.

  3. Ray Wornes September 18, 2015 at 10:18 am

    It would appear that in this case there are a number of minor actions that could be taken that could help to solve this localised problem. A combined effort by Councillors, the Police, and the pub management to introduce small changes at first to cure the problem. If these fail then more serious solutions may have to be considered. Surely this isn’t a difficult problem to solve if everyone works together to solve it? Once this is solved then perhaps other types of problems could be addressed. I have been aware for years that people have suffered in silence on a whole range of difficult issues that with a little effort could have been solved in the early stages. I have known some people in Scilly to be under their doctor being treated for serious stress. Circumstances in Scilly are always changing mainly due to the activities of various business or Council initiatives. You can stop one problem and years later it will start up again. Sadly there is no one trying to control these upsetting situations when we have every chance in this kind of small community of solving all types of problems mainly through a “caring community” Council Committee if there was such a thing. Just saying ‘that’s life’ and we have to put up with it isn’t good enough for that individual. Why must some people have to suffer long term when others don’t have to? In the end these problems do have a detrimental affect upon individual health and tourism.

    • Pete September 18, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      Ray. If it was a “caring community” we would not be having these problems.

  4. pete September 15, 2015 at 8:40 pm

    Come on Sargent Taylor. Throw a couple of drunks in the cell overnight, make an example. Problem will soon be sorted. Think of the overtime you will get.

  5. Peter September 14, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Whilst there is Scilly there is hope. I’d like to pick up on Bill Hiner’s comment: “… we owe it to our visitors to be honest about the type of place they are holidaying to-it is often not the utopia that some of our advertisers and marketing gurus would have you believe”. True. However, some Scillonians fail to understand the profound significance Scilly has for some or many mainland visitors, including my wife and me. As I said as an opening comment (to grab attention), whilst there is Scilly there is hope. Living on a mainland which is corrupted by drugs, violence, selfish driving, alienation from one’s neighbours etc etc etc, we need to believe that there is somewhere on this planet, and somewhere which is part of Britain, that can still offer safety, security, respect and decency. Of course it’s a fantasy or a delusion. We know there are real problems with deprivation on the islands, but so long as those problems remain both mild and in the background, we can carry on visiting to get our annual dosage of hope.

    In the last few months my fantasy has been tested somewhere near to destruction by reports on this website: sexual assault, urinating in public, wreckless and dangerous non-maintenance of public transport, burglary at the Co-op, vandalism at the church, vandalism of a phone box, regular theft of boat fuel, smashed beer bottles outside the Mermaid, drunks waking people up. Scillonians: if you’re not careful, you are going to lose an awful lot of the visitors who come to the islands to fuel their hope that life doesn’t have to be as it is on the mainland.

    Meanwhile, what do your police do? Behave like celebrities with their facebook updates and pink epaulettes. Many may find the antics of the police officers entertaining, but in the presence of increasingly thuggish crime on the islands, they are giving an impression that they are a purposeless embarrassment who have nothing better to do. The police on Scilly are probably as useless as they are on the mainland, now that they see themselves as social workers, so we cannot expect any impact from them on the increased crime levels on the islands. The answer must lie in the community, and I don’t know what that answer is, but I do know what the question is: what has happened in the last two or three years in Scilly to weaken the strong sense of community and mutuality which acted for so long to make the islands so safe?

  6. RogerP September 13, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I have owned my home on The Bank for over 11 years and for the first 9 of those the noise etc was acceptable. The problems have only been this last 2 years. The start of the problem coincided with the return to the mainland of 2 police officers, the change of management at the Mermaid plus the Council allowing a change in the license to allow bands to play in the front bar. Prior to this bands were restricted to the back so the noise emanated away from dwellings. The current Mermaid management have had many extensions allowed as late as 2 am. The old owners used to use doormen or themselves to control the problem. The current owners do not so it is a free for all with no one in control to stop the drinks being taken outside. I have seen as many as 22 people drinking in the streets when there is a bylaw to stop this. The remains the following mornings is all there to be seen, half full glasses, bottles and too many cigarette ends to count. I am also involved with holiday properties and those by the Mermaid this last 2 years have seen a constant stream of noise complaints leading to cancellations for future bookings. I have to say that the properties very near the Atlantic and Bishop in the last 2 years have not generated any noise or behaviour complaints.
    The so called 30 metre rule is a nonsense. For the noise to reach 30 metres it started at the premises so should be controlled
    The Council do say keep a diary. I have to say I did but when it is happening almost every night what is the point.
    We do need action from the Police, The Council and the Mermaid management because it is now out of control.

  7. Frances September 12, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Would it be an idea for local people on the Island to have a closed page where these issues can be aired? Also, if the right influential people are involved with the page then action can also be taken rather than just complaints or opinions? My local community has such a page and it works really well.

  8. Gent September 12, 2015 at 1:59 pm

    It’s not a police issue where people are outaide in the street talking, even loudly.

    It’s a functioning town centre, and noise comes with that. How much of the ‘disturbance’ is down to visitors in pubs? Who obviously want somewhere to drink till midnight, as is the norm in the mainland.

    But a property in the high street and surprised by some noise? This is a non-issue. But why take my word for it, how about a survey be undertaken.

    • Charlie Stein September 15, 2015 at 8:33 pm

      Gent, you obviously don’t live in Hugh Street or probably Scilly. This is a real problem which is ruining the lives of people who live near the pubs and it will destroy the holiday trade. It is a police issue because the pubs are breaking the law by serving drunk people. Sadly the police over here like to adopt the ‘I want to be your friend’ and not do their job properly because they want to be liked on the social media. The council need to stop issuing late licences until it can be proven it can be policed and managed properly.

  9. Elaine September 12, 2015 at 10:56 am

    Just back from 2 weeks on St Mary’s staying in Hugh Town, though admittedly not right next to pub. Did hear some noise of people going past late night, up to Garrison, but really not a problem for any of us. Also heard some groups speaking in louder, more excitable voices, coming out from pubs as we walked back from dinner, which is what happens when happy people drink a bit too much alcohol! As such, that may be unavoidable when you live in close proximity to a pub. Have sympathy about the unwanted noise – and urinating in the street when the pub has a loo is just gross, but want to reassure that it won’t deter us from returning year after year! Next year already booked.

  10. Bill Hiner September 12, 2015 at 10:03 am

    Mr James R-S

    Paul is entitled to peace and quiet after a reasonable time at night no matter where he lives. This is anti-social behaviour and can be addressed within the law. Unfortunately, the police here are “embedded” in the community and are always reluctant to enforce the law because they are wary of upsetting the folk they live amongst.
    Hugh Street at night is a noisy and unpleasant place to be when the pubs discharge their customers onto the roads. The aftermath of the evening before is also plainly evident with broken bottles, half-empty beer glasses and cigarette butts despoiling the streets and Porthcressa beachfront.

    I also think that we owe it to our visitors to be honest about the type of place they are holidaying to-it is often not the utopia that some of our advertisers and marketing gurus would have you believe.

  11. Rachel September 11, 2015 at 8:14 pm

    And what other priorities do the police have in the early hours of the morning on the such a small island with such a low crime rate? Updating their facebook page?!!!!!!!!!

    • HG September 12, 2015 at 8:34 am

      Sounds about right.

  12. Joan Parker - Carr. September 11, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    This makes very sad reading for your beautiful islands.
    It is sad also that you tell the world – it is not good for the tourist to read, and would put me off visiting your islands which were on my list.
    What are your police doing?
    Why do they not sort the problem ?
    Do you not have a diligent policeman on your island?
    May I also just ask if it is wise to do your dirty washing in public ?

  13. James R-S September 11, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    So Mr Charnock buy a property near a pub in the main area of an island. Mr Charnock then complains about noise! Presumably he was well aware of the various drinking establishments in Hugh Town?

    How ridiculous! Maybe the sound of the sea is also disturbing him!

    • Morris September 12, 2015 at 9:15 am

      Choice and ease of access were likely high on the list of desirable features!

    • BHJ September 13, 2015 at 9:33 pm

      Sometimes I wonder whether contributors to this site actually read the story on which they offer comment.
      Mr Charnock stated that the noise and disturbance is worse than it was three years ago. He has not recently bought his property and I am sure he was well aware of the proximity of public houses as he knew Scilly well.
      Our own experience may be of interest. We have been visiting Scilly for over forty years and have always stayed in the centre of town, even next to The Mermaid for some years. We are used to some noise after closing time, although it is some years since we heard and enjoyed ‘Trelawney’ or ‘Goodnight Irene’. For the past 20+ years we have been near the Garrison Arch and expected and had no problem with some noise.
      In the last few years however the shouting, screaming and obscene language has increased. This year I was so worried one night that I went out to ensure that the person I heard screaming was not in fact being assaulted.
      Luckily for the island’s economy we shall continue visiting but we don’t have rose-tinted spectacles and yes, we were young once. By the way, we enjoy the sound of the sea.

      • Solomon September 14, 2015 at 4:14 pm

        Dear BHJ,
        it is conceivable that contributors have both read the story and are reasonably familiar with the complainants perspective on the subject. It is also the case that before moving to his present abode his former residence was similarly located. It is obvious to anyone living here that the design and layout of Hugh Town are not sympathetic to the benign dispersal of sound and that can make the impact of noise after closing time disproportionately invasive; that said it is likely to be far less invasive than the constant noise of through traffic in a mainland seaside town.
        The location of the property Mr.Charnock elected to purchase three years ago suited his requirements giving easy access to local amenities, little has changed for the worse in that time.
        Whilst fully appreciating that late night noise causes nuisance it is equally important not to overblow the impact it has.

        • Paul Charnock September 15, 2015 at 8:11 am

          Before judgement is passed I will dispose of some assumptions.
          I have lived at my current abode 11 years.
          I have visited Scilly since 1971, 2 or 3 times per year.
          I previously lived in urban West Midlands.
          I am concerned for the people of Scilly and hope all prosper and Scilly continues to offer our visitors all that I have been fortunate to enjoy over the years.
          I am not alone in having concerns about the ‘night time economy’ and who it is benefitting.
          Thank you.
          Paul charnock

        • RogerP September 15, 2015 at 8:26 am

          Dear Solomon
          You say you have read the story. Well your reply simply shows that you had not. Mr Charnock states that the problem is worse than 3 years ago not that he purchased his house 3 years ago. He’s lived at that property for 10 years with very little problems in the first 7

        • BHJ September 15, 2015 at 2:35 pm

          Solomon
          Thank you for your words – I won’t say ‘wise’ words as even you have not grasped the nub of Mr Charnock’s comments. He has stated that the noise has increased in the last few years. You state that little has changed for the worse in that time. RogerP and I have supported Mr Charnock’s view. I fail to see how this overblows the impact of the nuisance.
          I am afraid that the comment about constant noise of through traffic in a mainland seaside town is a red herring – all towns? any town in particular? Does the constant noise in these towns, wherever they may be, utter profanities, scream, leave broken bottles, urinate in doorways ? Of course not – the comparison is not valid.