In the end, it was confirmed that it was not an alien invasion of central Croydon.
Residents living around the Croydon Flyover spent much of the weekend wondering what the eerily strange, out-of-this-world noise was coming from one of the new-build towers. The noise could be heard across three wards of the borough.
The noise was so loud, it even drowned out the constant background hum from traffic on Croydon’s urban motorway. The video published here, posted online by a neighbour, barely does the volume of “The Noise” justice.
Some residents on streets close to the Croydon Flyover complained of enduring three sleepless nights, as the sound began on Friday and droned on, and on, and on well into Sunday.
“It was like the white noise torture that they used on spies in the Cold War,” one sleep-deprived resident told Inside Croydon.
“The Noise” appeared to be directed southwards. Locals reported being able to hear the noise all the way to Lower Coombe Street, and even as far as Bramley Hill, half a mile away in South Croydon.
The source of the noise pollution was traced to Kindred House, the still-unfinished 25-storey residential tower block being developed on part of the Wandle Road car park off Scarbrook Road by Croydon’s least-favourite housing company, council-owned Brick by Brick.
“I thought it might be something coming from the Flyover at first,” said one resident who had to cope with the loud noise.
“It almost sounded like it might have been a helicopter that had landed, maybe the air ambulance. But it just went on and on, a whooshing noise, all night long.”
Another passer-by, a regular at the Royal Standard pub just round the corner from Kindred House, said that the noise “sounded like something off Doctor Who, when the aliens land.
“I thought it might have been some stunt tied in with a sci-fi movie or series,” they said.
“The surrounding streets are all suffering and none of the residents are able to sleep,” another resident appealed on social media. “We have no idea of where to turn – we need your help!” they said, addressing Croydon’s Mayor, Jason Perry.
But when residents tried to call the council to get the noise investigated and perhaps silenced, they discovered that the council no longer has a 24-hour reporting line for noise pollution, despite having a phone number on their online form.
Investigations by Inside Croydon have found that a fire alarm in Kindred House had been set off inadvertently. Sources at the site suggest that it could have been something as innocent as a pigeon getting into the building.
Once the fire alarm was set off, so a large AOV – an Automatic Opening Vent – opened… well, automatically, on the roof of the building, helping to broadcast the noise far and wide. The site’s weekend skeleton staff were unable to turn off the alarm, nor close the amplifying vent.
Staff at the site say that they received only half a dozen or so calls about the noise, and that they apologise for the inconvenience.
It is thought that the alarm could not be turned off because the installation has yet to be completed, and therefore the contractors could not be called out. This, Inside Croydon was assured, would not happen again.
The 128 flats in Kindred House, meanwhile, remain empty. The building, where construction work began in early 2019, is almost two years late in completing.
Best estimate of the first residents moving in – 68 of the flats are for private sale, the other 60 for shared ownership and affordable homes – is sometime before the end of 2022.
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