Families' hope over consultation to finally stop 'noisy students'

Those living near the University of East Anglia have complained about ongoing noise disturbance 

Those living near the University of East Anglia have complained about ongoing noise disturbance - Credit: Contributed

City folk who claim they have been disrupted by noisy student neighbours are hoping for a change in the rules on which homes can be converted to multi-occupancy.  

Those living in Salter Avenue, Primula Drive and Jasmine Close were recently alerted to the city council holding a consultation on house in multiple occupation (HMO) licensing policy. 

Families in the area have been upset by late night and early hours noise in their neighbourhood caused by University of East Anglia (UEA) students partying. 

One mother even claims a student defecated in her front garden as a protest gesture after she had complained about the racket in Primula Drive. 

Norfolk police said officers were called to the university village shortly before 10am today (Octobe

The student's village at the University of East Anglia - Credit: Archant

But now people believe the city council's consultation on HMO policy could limit the percentage of student homes in conjunction with an Article 4 direction, which enables a local planning authority to withdraw a specified permitted development rights across an area.

Steve Keyworth, 49, who lives in Salter Avenue, said: "Our situation is urgent and we're looking for any avenue where we can make the council understand there is a big problem here. 

"From our perspective the housing situation has deteriorated from lack of attention, and the council needs licensing and an Article 4 direction so they can say no to new landlord applications to protect the character of the community."

The father of two young daughters said a petition calling for new council policy to limit student homes was signed by 71 households - 89pc of the non-HMO homes in the area.

Steve Keyworth

Steve Keyworth - Credit: Contributed

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Regarding the consultation, Mr Keyworth said: "We've been talking to the city council planning department since May and it's rather strange and frustrating they haven't informed us they are doing this - or that it wasn't referred to in the response to our petition." 

Helen Shaw, who also lives in Salter Avenue, said the issue goes back several years with a friend of hers being involved with a Golden Triangle campaign back in 2014.

The junction of Primula Drive and Salter Avenue where there have been reports of noisy students causing disturbance at night

The junction of Primula Drive and Salter Avenue where there have been reports of noisy students causing disturbance at night - Credit: Google Maps

She added: "It seems significant the public consultation about additional licensing of HMOs was never mentioned to us.

"Although it may seem as though the council is being proactive, I would suggest the real reason behind it is a cost saving exercise.

"Licences would only be reviewed every five years instead of on an annual basis to cut down on administration." 

What have the UEA and city council said? 

The HMO consultation is open until Sunday, November 14 and anyone can comment online. 

It is specifically related to HMO licensing under the Housing Act 2004 and includes the application process, fees and conditions. 

A spokeswoman for the council said: "Comments are invited for consideration as part of the policy adoption procedure.

"Licence holders and agents have been made aware of the consultation and we have received a number of responses already.

"Enforcement of problems arising from HMO occupants can be dealt with under other existing powers and would depend on the nature of the issues reported.”

A spokesman for the UEA said they had no involvement in the consultation but reiterated the university meets councillors and landlords to discuss how they can improve community relationships.

"Where there are concerns we investigate and take the appropriate action," he added. 

To view the consultation documents and comment visit www.norwich.gov.uk/consultations 

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