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Non-resident use of communal green/pond space outside Bayer House

We have been experiencing some disturbance -- from mild to extreme -- in the communal green/pond space behind the community centre. This ranges from groups of office workers who come to eat their lunch there on a regular basis, and who will often sit in the private garden areas just outside of the flats (these spaces we maintain ourselves, and are full of plants and flowers), even when asked not to do so. These groups of people make quite a lot of noise and also frequently are smokers, who dispose of their cigarette butts on the ground. Other incidents include groups of skateboarders, cyclists, and teenagers who use the area as though it is a public recreation space and create disturbance for surrounding residents; people bring their dogs to run around (even though dogs are prohibited on the estate in general); this weekend there were people filming a music video, which involved playing their music loudly for 3 hours, yelling and drinking beer, the bottles of which they left behind on the ground. (I'm aware, additionally, that a permit is required to film on the estate). Obviously, like all other areas on the estate, the sound from this space travels quickly and is amplified by the surrounding concrete surfaces. There are signs that say 'Quiet Please' and 'This is a private estate, for residents's use only' -- but these are either not seen or are entirely disregarded by members of the public who see this as an area they are entitled to use in whatever way they please, with little regard for the immediate community.

We have only been here since August, so I'm not sure if this has been raised before as an issue that needs addressing. It seems to me that this is the only communal space on the estate (aside from the children's playground) that is readily accessible to, and as such frequently used by the public, and we wonder why this is the case -- since the presence and behaviour of individuals from outside the estate can be quite disturbing, and also seems to us a violation of both privacy and the basic expectation that one might live in a reasonably peaceful environment. 

I have mentioned this to members of the estate office, who suggested that they might put up more signs. I'm not sure that this would be sufficient, since there already are signs, which clearly have no effect; but equally, no action has been taken since this conversation, which was roughly 6 weeks ago. 

I plan to go speak to the office again to see what they might be able to propose, but I wanted to check in here first to see if anyone has similar concerns, suggestions, etc. Comments are welcome!  

Thank you! Emily and Brian. 

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Hi Tracy, 

So sorry to hear about these really distressing incidents you have been dealing with! We know exactly how you feel -- we've had a number of difficult situations in the pond area, including as you describe: people filming music videos (drinking, blasting rap music, climbing onto the raised garden areas just outside the ground floor flats, etc.). I really sympathise and the Estate Office and Parkguard should take seriously the impact these kinds of things have on the daily wellbeing, privacy, safety, peace of mind, and etc. of residents. It's particularly upsetting and can cause lasting stress if requests for people to leave the area or to be less noisy and so on end in confrontation, which is sometimes threatening. I think that's a really serious point to be made. 

There was a very interesting and useful 'community conversation' on 24 October about open spaces on the estate. It was clear that many residents have similar experiences and concerns; and that we all hope there's a way to move forward to deal with this in a productive manner. I believe there will be further in the future and I would encourage you to attend and to bring your experiences -- the more voice the better!

All best, 

Emily and Brian

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