City folk 'intolerant of noise'

Musician 'banned' from playing music

KATHRYN KING
Last updated 09:01 14/12/2012
music
Warwick Smith/Fairfax NZ
'BANNED': Harry Lilley, a student and musician, had a visit from noise control.

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Palmerston North people have become more intolerant of noise, statistics compiled by noise control show.

Wayne Jameson, Palmerston North City Council's head of environmental protection services, said February this year brought in the highest number of complaints with 460, but levels rose almost as high last month, with 409 complaints.

However, of the November complaints, only 139 resulted in action being taken, because there was either no noise, or the noise was deemed to be at an acceptable level. It wasn't the level of noise in the community that had increased, just the number of people complaining about it, Mr Jameson said.

On Thursday night, Harry Lilley, a student and musician, said noise control turned up at his flat in Oxford St about 10.45pm.

Mr Lilley said he had his acoustic guitar plugged into an amplifier and was rehearsing electric blues and reggae when they arrived. He admitted the noise was excessive, but he had every intention of stopping at 11pm.

He felt "slightly offended" that no-one had come to him and asked him to keep the noise down first, which he said he would have complied with.

Instead, he had been essentially banned from playing music for 72 hours for fear of having his equipment taken away from him. His street had a community group and he was going to try to find the person to talk about the issue.

Mr Jameson said noise control officers used their discretion to determine whether the noise level was reasonable or excessive.

There was also a callback policy where between the hours of 7am and 10pm, or 11pm on Friday and Saturday nights, if one person made a complaint they would be asked to call back if the noise continued in half an hour.

However, if two separate addresses complained about the same issue it would be attended immediately. This cut complaints by a third, he said.

About 40 per cent of complaints resulted in no noise being found or noise at reasonable levels. The summer months tended to see an increase in complaints.

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