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Couple ordered to stop weekly music performances after noise complaints

PUBLISHED: 16:37 28 April 2020 | UPDATED: 20:24 28 April 2020

Neil Tennant (left) and Chris Lowe (right) from The Pet Shop Boys, who the couple would play to their neighbours. Photo: PA

Neil Tennant (left) and Chris Lowe (right) from The Pet Shop Boys, who the couple would play to their neighbours. Photo: PA

PA Archive/PA Images

A weekly lockdown musical performance has been scrapped after complaints about noise.

Debbie Harry of Blondie, who the couple would play to their neighbours. Photo: PADebbie Harry of Blondie, who the couple would play to their neighbours. Photo: PA

Every Sunday from 2pm to 3.30pm during lockdown, a Halesworth couple set up speakers to play songs requested by neighbours.

The couple, who did not want to be named, claimed the music lifted spirits in the town.

But East Suffolk Council said it had received a number of complaints - and warned of the impact of noise on people’s mental health during lockdown.

The couple said: “We never had anyone complain. We actually had one woman in Wisset, three miles away, ask if we could turn it up so she could hear more clearly. Our 91-year-old neighbour was dancing in the garden.”

They added: “It raised the town’s spirits, We would post on Facebook to let everyone know and people would request songs. They were over the moon that we were trying to cheer up Halesworth.”

READ MORE: Man cuts grass in entire village on lockdown

The couple said neighbours grooved along to the sounds of Jackie Wilson, Rita T, The Pet Shop Boys, Rick Astley, Blondie, and Toots and the Maytals.

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But East Suffolk Council ordered the couple to stop playing music after neighbours complained.

A council spokesman confirmed it had ordered them to stop playing records.

He said: “The council has not taken any enforcement action – however we have asked them to stop playing loud music and to think of those this might affect. We are also writing to them so they clearly understand what they are and aren’t permitted to do.

The spokesman added: “Communities are currently confined to their homes and loud music or noise can affect people, particularly - for example - if they are key workers on shifts who may be trying to sleep. The effect on mental health at this already stressful time should not be underestimated.

“We do know that this is a very difficult time for people, however it is really important that we give as much thought as possible to the people we live with and close to.

“Community spirit is important but it must not be in the form of something imposed on people who are given no choice.”

READ MORE: ‘It feels like prison’ - the challenges of living in a flat in lockdown

The couple added: “I told everyone if they had any issues to tell us directly, I’m not intimidating and would understand if this wasn’t someone’s thing, but it annoys us they went straight to the council.

“We are council tenants and do not want to face court or eviction, so sadly the afternoons are now over.”


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