Students returned to Canterbury over the weekend and it’s fair to say opinions on social media were as divided as they’ve ever been.
In January last year, we published the results of our in-depth higher and further education impact review, which showed the presence of universities in the city brings an economic value of £909 million to the local economy. It is without doubt the case that the universities are crucial to our economy and our future growth and prosperity.
Of course, this will be little comfort to people who have been disturbed by a noisy house party or revellers returning home from a night out, and we understand these concerns.
Everyone must play their part in preventing or reducing any negative impact on people’s daily lives, and we work closely with the universities, student unions, landlords and residents’ groups to try and achieve this.
Ultimately, though, responsibility for their behaviour must lie with the students themselves. Yes they’re away from home and enjoying their freedom for possibly the first time, and nobody is saying they shouldn’t have a good time, but these are people who are old enough to drive, vote and start a family, and we would urge them to think about and respect their neighbours and the wider community.
Actions we are taking as a council, working with our partners, are:
* We have been out with the police at a number of student events already, promoting joint community safety and awareness messages
* We have attended the University for the Creative Arts freshers events and are attending freshers events this week at the University of Kent and Christ Church
* We are running our pop-up safety hub in the city centre on Thursday 20 and Wednesday 26 September. These are busy student nights and we’ll be making sure those who are out in the city have a safe and enjoyable night out and are given safety advice – plus we’ll be promoting the Zero Tolerance campaign run by Kent Union.
* We will be running joint neighbourhood days in October with the police and universities, going out to student residential areas and talking to students who have just moved into the area, giving advice on community living and addressing issues such as rubbish and noise. We will also be distributing our new student planner which gives advice on community life, covering moving in, being neighbourly, being responsible with parties and safety and wellbeing advice
* By early to mid-October we may have reports of student houses which may have started to struggle with bins or rubbish, or may have had noise complaints. We attend those houses and give advice and information and let them know about regulations in place should these issues continue
Student issues such as noisy parties or anti-social behaviour should be reported to the relevant university liaision team:
University of Kent – https://www.kent.ac.uk/studentservices/community/index.html
Christ Church – https://www.canterbury.ac.uk/…/commu…/community-liaison.aspx
And noise complaints can also be reported via our website: https://www.canterbury.gov.uk/…/report_a_noise_smell_or_smo…