Noisy common funfair

Evening All,

We have been in contact with the council about noise from the funfair last week. On our side of WC it was very loud and relentless (10 straight days of 8+ hours a day, throbbing bass and shouting over the megaphone), but it may not have been a disturbance to other residents.

I don’t want to get into a discussion on the merits of the funfair etc, just wanted to flag that the council have been quite helpful and will insist on a noise management plan going forward. We are not the only residents to complain, and I don’t think more complaints are needed for action but I wanted to flag the issue in case anyone else was disturbed.
 

Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
I did hear it, but obviously you are right in the firing line. I'm surprised it's even allowed yet prior to stage 4 (hopefully) relaxation of the rules. However that isn't so relevant because they should have proper noise management going forward anyway.

People should be able to have have funfairs of course. We normally put up with the odd music event, but I'm sure those are better regulated than the funfairs so I'd say if it's for 8 days you are totally justified in asking SCC to look into it.
 
Thanks Pete, that’s exactly the issue - the duration of the event and the lack of regulation. So hopefully a noise management plan will help. I’m not sure what it will entail, but apparently this is the longest ever duration of the fair (according to SCC), so maybe that’s part of it. I’m less worried about things that last a day.

I do, of course, have views on the sensibilities of holding a funfair whilst still in a pandemic, and I guess the case numbers over the next couple of weeks might tell us something. But the common has always been there and events are to be expected. Hopefully a reasonable compromise can be found.
 

Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
To SCC:

I am writing as chairman of the Oakmount Triangle Residents' Association. We represent residents in Blenheim Avenue, Westbourne Crescent, Oakmount Avenue, Leigh Road and Highfied Road (nos 1 -5). This year's funfair on the common seemed to be much louder than in previous years.

We are very happy that we have lively leisure and community events within the city and totally accept that funfairs and music festivals are an important part of our social heritage. We know that such events can be a necessary relief after the restrictions we have all had to suffer over the last year or so. We would never consider complaining about the occasional weekend music event and do appreciate that a certain level of sound reinforcement is necessary for the enjoyment of the participants.

However In this case it was just too much for too long. The event ran continuously for 10 days with levels of loudness both from announcements and bass heavy music on the P.A. system that were way beyond what is necessary for an enjoyable fun fair. We want people to enjoy themselves but would request that in future SCC could please monitor these events to ensure that there is no unnecessary noise pollution spreading beyond the perimeters of the funfair into residential areas (500m away). Working people, parents and the elderly, should be able to enjoy a few peaceful afternoons and evenings when young children especially need a good night's sleep before school. The continued noisy disruption is not good for their, or their parents, wellbeing.
 
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shaf

Committee
Yes it's very annoying even though its far away the bass, music and screaming travels right across and sounds as though its across the road. We too have wanted to complain but never sure who to contact.
Pete the letter is spot on. Is it OK for us to use and send to our ward councillors individually.
I understand with covid restrictions lifting we will see more gigs and music events returning to the common. Is there a way we can work with the council to try and mitigate the noise in advance of them happening?
 

Cathie

Resident
Thanks all, we too heard it eveny night for the 8 days and commented on how loud it was this year. We wondered if it was just that we hadn’t heard one for such a long time, we weren’t used to the noise! Agree with all the points above and glad the council are receptive to the feedback. Thanks
Katrina
 

Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
I am writing as chairman of the Oakmount Triangle Residents' Association. We represent residents in Blenheim Avenue, Westbourne Crescent, Oakmount Avenue, Leigh Road and Highfied Road (nos 1 -5). This year's funfair on the common seemed to be much louder than in previous years.

We are very happy that we have lively leisure and community events within the city and totally accept that funfairs and music festivals are an important part of our social heritage. We know that such events can be a necessary relief after the restrictions we have all had to suffer over the last year or so. We would never consider complaining about the occasional weekend music event and do appreciate that a certain level of sound reinforcement is necessary for the enjoyment of the participants.

However In this case it was just too much for too long. The event ran continuously for 10 days with levels of loudness both from announcements and bass heavy music on the P.A. system that were way beyond what is necessary for an enjoyable fun fair. We want people to enjoy themselves but would request that in future SCC could please monitor these events to ensure that there is no unnecessary noise pollution spreading beyond the perimeters of the funfair into residential areas (500m away). Working people, parents and the elderly, should be able to enjoy a few peaceful afternoons and evenings when young children especially need a good night's sleep before school. The continued noisy disruption is not good for their, or their parents, wellbeing.

Very quick and possibly useful looking response:

Dear Mr Thomas,

Thank you for your report detailed below.

The Environmental Health Service were consulted about this Fun fair on 15 April 2021 and I did not raise any concerns /objections as normally such funfairs do not attract many residential noise complaints.

We are already aware of the noise issues you have raised and am already in the process of engaging with the operator to request a robust noise management plan for future events.

For your information the events management web site is as follows: https://www.southampton.gov.uk/news/events.aspx and I have made them aware also of the complaints/ our line of action as consultees/ enforcement officers.

I will update you again in due course via email once I have managed to progress matters further but if you would like to discuss in the interim then please let me have your best contact phone number/ time to call you.

Kind Regards
 
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Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
Good job Pete. I shall be writing in today.
Note in the reply above there is now another contact, directly for events.

I think an importantb thing is that we don't just appear to be moaning Minnies..., hence I mentioned we understand that the music events are expected to have a certain level of loudness. There is an audeince size and sound systems need to accomodate that. I'm sure those are regulated.

Funfairs are different IMO. Apart from the fact in was for over a week, I believe that the sound only needs to be quite localised in many cases.
 
Thanks Pete, very similar to our response. I think he’s very much wanting to help, so maybe we don’t need to inundate him further. Up to individuals, of course, I don’t want to say what anyone should/should not do. Maybe we should just keep a list of people concerned?
 

shaf

Committee
The funfair is back on for the Bank Holiday weekend. Can we try and preempt potential noise pollution with council beforehand?
 
My understanding is that they are limited to 6 days (not the 10 requested) and with a noise management plan. So I guess we wait and see but happy to discuss impact with others when the event happens.
 

Ali Tavassoli

Resident
Hi all,

I wanted to post an update on this, given the fair will be back on this weekend. I've been liaising with the SCC Environmental health Officer (who has been extremely helpful) about this issue, raising my concerns about the duration and level of noise last time. He has in turn contacted the organisers, and asked for a sound management plan, which he has now sent to me. I attach it here FYI.

Please note that SCC will not be checking compliance with this plan in any way; they have asked us to call the organiser William Cole directly if there are any issues during the event. His number is on the last page of the attached document.

You can also report noise issues to the council via their online portal

It may be worth contacting the council in addition to the organiser if there are issues, as one reason given by SCC for a 10-day permit being approved last time was there had been no complaints from residents about the level noise from the fair in the past.
 

Attachments

  • Sound Management Plan - Aug 2021.pdf
    380.4 KB · Views: 14

Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
One thing that might be useful is to record decibel levels. There is a useful phone app for this called SPLnFFT. (£3.49)

If you get readings make a note of the time of day, and also how long it went on for at that level.
 
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Pete Thomas

Committee
Conservation
as one reason given by SCC for a 10-day permit being approved last time was there had been no complaints from residents about the level noise from the fair in the past.
I think they need some educating on this.

One of the reasons for the complaints is not just the actual noise level, but the how long it goes on. We just had Marc Almond, and I think we can all accept a gig for a few hours once a year is a different kettle of fish to a 10 day funfair marathon.
 
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Ali Tavassoli

Resident
We really enjoyed the concert too.

The environmental officer seems to be onside. Hopefully the operators of the rides will keep the noise levels under control this time.
 
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