Rowdy students upset locals

**Leamington Spa residents have lodged a series of complaints with the University following a number of disruptions on week nights.**

The concerns raised centre around the levels of noise on week nights, specifically in the areas of New Street, Bath Street and George Street.

A total of 18 separate complaints relating to houses occupied by Warwick students were submitted during the first six weeks of term, between October 1 and November 9, in addition to which a further complaint was made that was not linked to a specific house, but it is understood that the students were returning to a student residence.

According to the University, this marks a substantial increase compared to the previous academic year. 31 separate complaints were made across last year, of which a significant number came in the final term.

The majority of complaints received this year were isolated instances, although on October 4 there were 8 separate complaints made – coinciding with the start of term and the first Smack event.

The complaints are a sign of increasing unrest among residents of Leamington and the surrounding areas.

One Bath Street area resident told the _Warwick Courier_ that there is a “lack of respect from Warwick students” towards residents.

They added: “Each night in Bath Street there is a cacophony of screaming, shouting, noise and hoo-hah.”

In Coventry, Gosford Park Residents’ Association is calling on Coventry City Council to change their planning policy in order to limit the number of student homes allowed in local neighbourhoods.

Residents want the policy altered so that in Gosford Park and other hotspots permission is required to convert any property into a multiple-occupancy home for more than six people. It is currently unclear whether a similar request will be made for Leamington.

A number of students from the streets affected are questioning the validity of such complaints, though.

Third-year History and Politics student Tom Davies suggested students were being treated as scapegoats. He said: “As a resident of Bath Street, I am almost certain that the ‘noise pollution’ problem, which I can’t say I’ve actually noticed, is as much caused by permanent residents as it is students.”

This view was supported by Jack Trowsdale, a third-year Maths student living on Church Street. He said: “I haven’t noticed any noise from students – if anything I find the other people around the area can be quite distracting.”

Students’ Union president Nick Swain asked people to be “considerate and conscious of the community they live in”. But he also stated that it is “really important that locals acknowledge the fact that young people are not necessarily Warwick students”.

“We are aware of a small number of Warwick students who have caused problems. Having said that, it is very clear Warwick students are on the whole considerate to residents and the community they live in,” he added.

Although complaints have related to privately owned properties, the University has acted to contact those students living in the residencies concerned. Following on from this, there have been no further complaints submitted regarding those premises.

The University is also currently negotiating to take on the rental management of a number of student rooms in one of the private properties involved in the complaints.

Warwick’s head of communications Peter Dunn said: “The University continues to work closely with Warwick District Council and other authorities to ensure that Leamington provides a safe and desirable place for Warwick students to live.

“The work of Warwick Volunteers is one small example of where students and staff make a tangible contribution to that community which is recognised by residents and appreciated. The actions of a small number of people risk this.”

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