Thursday 25 September 2014 9.24am
I have a lot of sympathy - this is something we've had to spend a lot of time dealing with in Henshaw St (just off New Kent Road
). Although we don't have halls about half the houses in the street are let as HMOs, many to students. Part of the problem is - although individuals and even individual households might not make that much noise themselves, put together it can cause a massive regular disturbance - and my experience is that (as above) although it calms down a bit after Sep / Oct it does not go away.
Good luck if you get anyway with the Unis - I tried contacting the major ones (Kings / UCL / LSE / South Bank) about 5 years ago when this first became apparent as a problem - and they made sympathetic noises but essentially washed there hands. To them students are adults who are responsible for themselves - and frankly even if they wanted to they don't have the admin ability to deal with it.
So what can be done? It's a good idea to get the Council involved but which team? You might think you could call the noise team from Environmental Services but I strongly suspect you'll find they don't consider this a statutory disturbance - that usually only relates to continuous noise above a certain decibel level - eg a sound system in the street. My advice would be to report problems to the Anti Social Behaviour Unit (http://www.southwark.gov.uk/info/98/antisocial_behaviour) - this will get you help eventually but you will need to report and get your neighbours to report regularly.
In our street the situation has been enormously improved by a not for profit called the Southwark Mediation Centre (http://lambethandsouthwarkmind.org.uk/directory/southwark-mediation-centre-smc/). They were initially brought in by the Council, later various landlords were persuaded to pay them. They meet students and other people in HMOs BEFORE they move in (this is essential) - explain the local issues and get involved whenever there are problems. I suspect the landlords of the various Halls would benefit from working with them.
Finally (and longterm) this should ultimately be a planning issue. We seem to have more and more student accommodation in the area and at some point it's reasonable to start objecting to any new developments (maybe we need to co-ordinate on this?) In our street we have managed to get the C@ouncil to agree an Article 4 Direction (comes into force next month) which means we can't get any new HMOs at least. Maybe we need something similar to cover halls in the northern half of the borough?..
Take care and good luck