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Canterbury Christ Church University Student Union summer ball sparks fury over 'deafening' music

By Aidan Barlow

Oi - keep the noise down! That was the message from Canterbury residents after being kept awake by a university summer ball over the weekend.

Complaints were made to the police and Canterbury City Council after booming drums and "deafening" music could be heard from Canterbury Christ Church University's student event into the early hours of Saturday.

City councillor Alex Perkins (Lib Dem) said he has been inundated with complaints from residents across the city, some as far away as Harbledown and the University of Kent.

The Canterbury Christ Church University summer ball web page
The Canterbury Christ Church University summer ball web page

He said: "Students will say that it was only for one night a year. But this was ridiculous. It was deafening. Nobody should be making that amount of noise at that time of night.

"This was a stadium-sized gig in the middle of the ancient medieval city of Canterbury. It's totally irresponsible.

"The issue is about licences, not having a go at students. In Canterbury we have licences until 4am for indoor venues, but this was outdoor.

"I received a huge amount of complaints from residents all over the city. One was a student at the University of Kent who couldn’t get to sleep for a 9am exam on Saturday.

"I live several hundred yards from campus, and I closed my windows and covered my head with my pillow. I still couldn't get to sleep.

"Next year they should move their ball indoors, or to a venue which won't disturb the whole city."

The sold-out event featured a lineup including Foxes, Scouting for Girls and Matrix & Futurebound between 8pm and 3am.

It had been given a special events licence from Canterbury City Council, which has sparked anger from residents.

Council assistant director Larissa Reed said: "The council has received a number of complaints over the weekend from residents across the city about noise from Friday night’s Christ Church Students' Union summer ball.

"We work closely with the organisers and the police to licence these events and for many years the summer ball has passed off without complaint, and the issues were therefore not foreseen.

"We will now be urgently assessing what happened this year and are meeting the licence holders today (Monday).

"The application was identical to previous years and it was agreed on that basis, given that we have not had complaints in the past.

"Clearly something changed in the delivery of the event and we want to know what and why that was.

"We will be reviewing the licence for next year’s ball accordingly and this will mean putting conditions in place to ensure this kind of disturbance does not happen again, if indeed a licence is issued.

"We will have an environmental health officer on duty in future years.

"This has not been necessary up to now because the event has been problem-free, but we will change our approach following this weekend’s complaints."

Retired fire engine and milk float driver Michael Miles, 73, said he could hear the din from the concert keeping him awake in his flat in Pine Tree Avenue.

He said: "It went on to 3am. Just after 11pm it was very very loud. There were Chinese of far-eastern type singers on with wailing voices and a group of backing singers.

"After that there were the Chinese drums being played at about 11.55pm. I couldn't have that keeping me up all night, so I rang the police.

"They told me they were sending some officers to check it out. But a couple of hours later and the music still hadn't died down."

Others took to Twitter to complain, with @StandDazza commenting: "What a surprise Students do what they like @kent_police don't even come out for the noise complaints just fob you off to Environmental Health Officers."

The university and the students' union held crisis talks this morning and are expected to make a statement later today.

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