A primary school in Barlby, near Selby, just south of York has taken leave of their senses and given into to a few obnoxious residents who complained about noise levels. Obviously everyone in the blogosphere and in the MSM are going WTF! Has the world gone mad? Have the rights of a few old people* living in Acorn Close, Barlby trumped the rights of dozens of young kids who need to exercise?
Yes is the answer. It’s all down to 13 years of political correctness where everything has to be fair and everyone has human rights. This means that the human rights of someone who buys a house near a school gets it into their head that they have a right to complain about the noise levels of kids playing. This is kids playing at lunch time. The middle of the day. When right minded people are usually at work.
But why did the council get in touch with the school and raise the noise issue with them? Are they politically correct left leaning councillors? Not quite.
Even though Labour have been in power nationally for 13 years, this is a Conservative council since 2003. But local councillors are just politicians like MPs. Those councillors who do have power, the ones on committees, like to keep their empires and enhance them. Being Tory or Labour doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference. They all care about themselves and not their electors.
The other factor in how the council reacted is the council officers. These are employees of the council and are not elected officials. These are the real poison in councils. These people are the ones on excessively high salaries (some CEOs of councils are paid more than the PM) who bow to no one, not even councillors. These are the ones with real power. These are the ones who are the left leaning politically correct busy bodies even if the whole council was comprised of Tory councillors. These are the ones who make life awkward and difficult for anyone with any common sense.
So the council, read council officials who have nothing better to do except create work for themselves to justify their existence, raised a meeting with the school and told them that they had received complaints about the noise. They did this because they had a duty to react after any complaint. This means they react without thought. So the council officials have pretty much told everyone that they don’t have any common sense and didn’t talk to the complainants to ensure that they really had a reason for making their complaint. No, what they did is go straight to the school because that way they can have a meeting because having meetings means that they can discuss the issue and pass the buck on to someone else. In this case the school.
So the school gets the story from the council that complaints have been made. And the council have probably talked up the issue because a silly little complaint would be worth having a meeting about would it? So the school hears the story as a major complaint has been received by the council, that the council have had to think about noise abatement orders (a way of making the issue bigger than it is and scaring the school further) and possibly call in consultants (more scaring about the thought of expensive consultants) to check the noise levels with their fancy machines.
The school’s board now have to react because they have been passed the buck by the council. And they are worried that they might incur extra costs if they don’t follow the council’s advice. This is advice from a person who probably has no legal background nor intelligence. The only thing they have was perceived authority based on FUD. The school’s board, who don’t have the background nor experience of how to handle such situations as they are only ordinary people wanting to do best for the kids, do what they can only do in such situations. Issue a ban as that is what they’ve seen loads of other organisations do in such situations. They can’t talk to the complainants, because the council wouldn’t tell them who they are because of data protection issues (amazing that organisations use this when they don’t want to do something, but freely ignore it when it’s our data they lose). They can’t negotiate with the householders who live on the other side of the fence. An acoustic fence mind you. They can’t find out what’s causing the irritation to the householders to work out if its a particular thing or just the noise in general. So what they do ban noise making activities. They stagger the kids playtime – this only lengthens the noise making period. They ban hard ball games – as if that making more noise than kids screaming.
This will not solve the problem as the complainant (there will be a key person, the other two are just hangers on) will probably not be satisfied till the school is shut down. They probably lived there for many years, years before the school was built in 2002. They probably didn’t want the school then. Rather than move, they demand that their human rights are taken into account and that they are more important than the human rights of dozens of kids. They were probably the single person who complained when they school put in a planning application for an extension in 2007. This ties in with reports in some newspapers that the noise level increased due to “funnelling” after the recent redesign of the school. And this redesign and extension must have been big to change the noise levels so much. You would think so. But in fact it’s a single class room. Not even two story. And conditions were imposed as part of the planning including the installation of an acoustic fence. All I can think of about the noise objection is that this was put in by a very pedantic NIMBY. How does a single class room extension make the slightest difference to noise levels outside? Does a single classroom extension suddenly increase the number of kids at the school to unimaginably high levels where the noise levels are unbearable.
Unlike a lot of journalists, I’ve did a quick bit of research. Only five minutes mind. I’m not paid to do this kind of work. Amazing what you can find out on Google and some thought.
Oh, and have a look at the attached picture and see how many houses are near the school. The green line is the acoustic fence. The red box is the single classroom extension.
* I’m only assuming that it is old people because they stereotypically are the ones who are at home during the day and who can be arsey enough to make a complaint. I make this assumption from Streetview where I notice that the houses in the local estate are predominately bungalows and houses have very neat front gardens. The are other possibilities, but pensioners are my guess.