Music to your ears? An everyday – and night – tale of Croydon

Driven out of their home by loud music from next door, after a sleepless night for himself and young son, a resident of THORNTON HEATH has contacted Inside Croydon about the council’s lack of protection for some of its residents

On Saturday night, I sat drafting this email listening to ragga dub … it had been booming through the wall since mid-morning.

Our shared wall had regularly throbbed with dub and reggae for the last few months and our attempts to negotiate directly with our neighbours proved futile.

When I first called Croydon Council’s noise pollution number after midday on Saturday, I was told that there was no noise pollution team on duty until 8pm. Don’t people make noise during the day?

We went out. We came back. It was loud. So, we went out again. We stayed out … our neighbours had earlier claimed that they were having – yet another – party and that they knew their rights. During the day there was no noise pollution team to call to enforce our rights.

The noise pollution officer called at 8.30pm and informed me that we were No8 on his list. I was out with the family trying to preserve our sanity. I said I’d call the council again when we got home.

We got home at 8.45pm, and the noise was nearly bearable. But, as the revellers got stoned, the dub got louder. I rang the council contact centre at about 9.30pm and was promised a call back from the noise pollution team. By 12.30am no call, no sign of the noise pollution team and our four-year-old was sleeping next to my wife. He didn’t want to sleep in his noisy room alone.

I am an epileptic, and we are advised by our doctors of the need to ensure that we sleep well. Despite my need for sleep, I waited for a response from the council. At 12.40am I called the council again in a state of mild despair and the operator sounded as if I was giving him a problem.

At 1.30am I started to crawl in to my son’s bed. But, I stopped and kept the faith. The noise pollution team’s shift ended at 3am, so after waiting 17 hours what was another 90 minutes going to matter. Experience, though, told me that sometimes the team simply doesn’t respond.

At 2am, to my surprise, the phone rang. The team was outside. I invited them in and apologised for being persistent when all that could be heard now was a bit of Gloria Gaynor in the dining room. “No that’s loud enough,” the team – both of them – said. The gentle team politely asked our neighbours to stop, which they did. Instantly.

The noise pollution officers were a great help, but is one noise pollution team, operating only between 8pm and 3am, enough for an urban borough of 350,000 people?

Then, yesterday morning, when I looked out of our bedroom window, our 55-year-old neighbour looked up and mimed a pistol shot at our house over his shoulder.

B-B-B-B Boom Boom.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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3 Responses to Music to your ears? An everyday – and night – tale of Croydon

  1. Arfur Towcrate says:

    Noise nuisance is a total pain.

    Unlike your tale of woe, we had good support from the council’s environmental health team about a dog barking and waking us up in the night. I can therefore recommend that you let your local councillors know that you are experiencing problems, and raise your concerns with them as well as the noise pollution outfit.

    You will need to keep a diary of your miserable experiences, but the council will send the offenders a warning letter straight away, and if the problem continues, you can ask them to install a listening device in your home which you can use to record evidence for use in court.

  2. Jamie R says:

    We have tried the noise pollution team in our battle against persistently loud neighbours. It hasn’t done any good unfortunately, you can’t guarantee the noise will still be booming by the time the team can get to you. Ultimately the residents of the house next door would not be evicted anyway, I’m sure. After finding out we’d moved next door to a home for teenage girls we despaired because they act with impunity, laugh and shout abuse if we ask them to turn it down. Letters from the council to the property have no effect, so we’ll just have to endure it until we can move.

  3. Sonia Reddel says:

    These sound like our neighbours, and we have been calling the noise pollution team for 5 years. All they will do is the letter and empty promises. We have been on the ‘the list’ for a decibel metre for yesrs. It doesn’t exist. They said they were taking the neighbours to court over a year ago but finally admitted they didn’t with no explanation as to why not. Croydon has the most useless noise pollution service and I literally don’t know what I’m going to end up doing tonight.

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