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Is Late Night Noise in Epsom Out of Control?

August 18, 2010 6:00 AM
Epsom Town centre

The upper floors of Hudson House can be seen in the background : five clubs are within a few yards of this photo

Tony Axelrod, a resident living in the centre of Epsom, says that late night and early morning noise and disturbance in Epsom town centre is out of control. Though he has been patiently working with the borough council's Environmental Health staff, the Police and looking at the current licensing arrangements, he fears that there are just not sufficient resources put into what has become a real health problem and one which is affecting the quality of life of hundreds of residents.

Epsom has numerous nightclubs with different closure times with five very near to the Spread Eagle junction alone: a revamped Chicago's, which has been closed for many months, is about to re-open again. On numerous occasions problems have been reported to the Council out-of-hours noise service. In early August, it again became all too much.

Tony said "If you visited Epsom town centre on Saturday 8th August, you would have found the Police dealing with a fight on the streets between midnight and 1am. The noise from one club was so loud that at 2 in the morning it was bouncing off the walls of the building opposite. Parts of Hudson House foundations were shaking and it was impossible to get to sleep until after everyone had gone home at 4am. This is a very common happening regularly reported to the Council and it's been going on for too long."

Tony says that residents in the affected parts of Hudson House and other large blocks of flats are usually only too happy to acknowledge that they chose to live in a town centre and accept some level of noise disturbance. He says:

"There are more and more people living in Epsom town centre and there are more and more blocks of flats being built. There is no public transport in the early hours when the clubs close and so people regularly walk through the town making noise and disturbance in the small hours. Some clubs also seem incapable of controlling noise from their premises when they are open. We need reasonable limits being enforced, as without this the noise and disturbance drags on until between 3 and 4am on a regular basis."

Representatives from town centre residential blocks have attended meetings, but been told that it's not entirely clear where the noise and anti-social behaviour originates and that it's difficult to take permanent action. The problem has now worsened to the point that the Council out-of-hours service sometimes just doesn't bother to visit if the noise is a known problem. Other boroughs have different arrangements - in Reigate & Banstead environmental health officers patrol the streets and are, according to the Police, really strict with clubs.

"I think what we need is for the borough council to acknowledge that they need to take the lead in creating an action plan and properly control the situation - other boroughs seem to deal with this kind of thing, but Epsom & Ewell seems to want to pretend it doesn't really exist. Do any of the majority RA council group ever visit Epsom in the early hours of the morning over weekends and when clubs are open and are dispersing? They might be more sympathetic if they did", says Tony.

Local councillor Alison Kelly has been working with local residents and said "This has been going on for a number of years without any real improvement. Residents are now getting together and comparing notes. It would appear that gardens of licensed premises are treated differently from venue to venue - some have to be emptied by 11pm whilst others remain open."

The council's Licensing Committee is due to review its policy in September. Cllr Kelly continues "There should be a policy which prevents pub and club gardens and the exterior of licensed premises near to residential blocks of flats being used after 11pm, we should place a strict limit on the number of early morning licensed premises, keep the position under review and we should make sure we have an out-of-hours service which works or set up patrols to enforce the rules."

Please contact Alison if you have information about other disturbances in the town centre.