Sunday, August 28, 2011

On the Blink in Margate

I’m not quite sure what to make of last night’s ‘Blink Margate’ event on the seafront. Like many thousands of others, I came, I saw, I stumbled around Marine Parade in the darkness and then went home. In danger of being accused of being an artistic vacuum, I’m not really any wiser for the experience. Perhaps others can share their views. The Thanet Waves weblog doesn't pull any punches in a very lucid opinion piece, so what did you think of it all?

Anti-social behaviour in its many ugly and different forms, is a constant theme if you happen to be a councillor and as the Cabinet member for the environment (health etc), aspects of this falls on my patch. It’s pretty diverse and can involve dog-fouling, tall tree and hedges disputes between neighbours and of course late-night noise; the one most likely to drive the most reasonable people over the edge.

Yesterday evening, having returned from ‘Blink’, I parked-up my motorcycle and was amazed to hear what sounded like a music festival coming from the direction of Westgate village. 'Loud' would be an understatement here, the sound was bouncing around the houses and could be heard well into Westbrook. So I followed the noise and eventually wound-up at a house in Roxburgh Rd where a party, in full swing, was being held in the back garden being entertained by a live band at ‘full amp’. Guests were walking in and out and so I asked for the owner who appeared a few moments later. I then politely introduced myself to this gentlemen householder and asked “As a courtesy to your neighbours and the residents of Westgate” if he might turn the noise down as it was unreasonably loud at such an hour. He said he would, I thanked him and then left, thinking that was the end of it.

Thirty minutes later and at the other end of Westgate I could still hear it, so I called the police. Apparently their Maidstone switchboard was receiving a stream of complaints from the public about the noise but of course, they were preoccupied in Margate. However, with a little polite persuasion, the operator said they would send a car to the address and deal with the complaints and about fifteen minutes later, the noise stopped.

The point I’m attempting to make here is that nobody minds an energetic party but within reason. Whether this be ‘Blink’ on Margate’s main sands or a family celebration in Westgate. There are however sensible boundaries set by society on what is considered acceptable and what is not and as a general rule, if adults can’t exercise restraint and consideration for their neighbours, then why should we expect our children to do the same?

Loud and sustained noise is often regarded as a form of assault and I’m presently dealing with the complaint of one local resident in social housing, whose upstairs neighbour keeps unsocial hours and allegedly enjoys playing her stereo loudly, reportedly robbing him of sleep. Resolving the problem is awkward, takes weeks and involves several different agencies.

In the example of last night, a polite request from a passing local councillor should have been enough for common sense to prevail. Our hard-working, over-stretched police, here in Thanet, have, I’m sure, much better things to do on a Saturday night than remind people in a residential area, that others and particularly young children, need their sleep too!


Anonymous said...

What a white knight in shining armour you are against noise polution young man lets hope you are so keen to stop residents being woken by aircraft noise when it comes to a vote on night flying.

Anonymous said...

Like you I was somewhat bemused at what (and where) I was supposed to be watching. That, coupled with the large crowd of a widely diverse nature (from families with kids, to older and infirm people, all mingling with those out for a Saturday night drinking session), dark streets but with lazers dazzling the eyes, made it surprising that the notorious Elf 'n Safety mob had allowed it to go ahead. Some better planning of the spectating element wouldn't have gone amiss.

DrM. said...

3:11 I'm not going to indulge you in your efforts to draw a weak comparison between the occasional aircraft movement at Manston, lasting minutes with a sustained auditory assault from an amplifier lasting hours.

DrM. said...

Let me make it clear once again that I'm not prepared to allow this comment thread to be hijacked and become a debate on the future of the airport; it's completely off topic and comments will simply be deleted.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Doc. I think your posting has given me all the encouragement I need that you will be against me being awoken by 747's at 3am.

I gather by your 1242 posting you have been inundated.


DrM. said...

No, only you and one other who is for the airport and vigorously against Clive Hart. I deleted his comment too.

Quite possibly a good litmus test of opinion here but as i said, the airport is for another day and not here

Anonymous said...

Blick was different and was nice to pop over to see it