Resident’s protest over ‘deafening’ noise brings Sheffield Uni’s building work to a halt
Residents say the noise has reached ‘intolerable’ levels
Demolition work at the University of Sheffield’s Social Sciences building was brought to a halt for two hours today after a resident sat in a camping chair on the site in protest at the “deafening” noise levels.
It comes after those living nearby slammed the uni as “the neighbours from hell” over noise reaching as high as 78 decibels.
The £65m building’s completion date has been delayed by 15 months after contractors discovered a structural problem with the build that meant half the construction had to be knocked down.
Conor O’Callaghan decided that a protest was the best course of action to take, and he refused to leave the site until the police arrived.
He told The Tab: “It was time for some positive, peaceful action. The work has been driving me nuts. Our summer has been written off and the uni hasn’t been sympathetic at all.
“They’ve been so cut-throat and dismissive to us. We have shadows of a crane going throughout our kitchen and dust all over our windows. When is this going to end?”
A crowd of neighbours cheered Conor on throughout his protest. When police arrived, he was issued with a caution.
He told The Star: “They were all lovely on-site and I apologised to them. A lad came over and asked what I was doing so I explained and he said ‘can’t you just send them an email?’
“I said I’d been doing that over the last 18 months with no joy – we’re at our wits end. It’s absolutely deafening. If I’ve achieved anything I’ve given myself and my neighbours two hours of very rare peace and quiet.”
Watch: Builders begin to tear down new Social Sciences building, following structural problems delaying the completion until 2022. pic.twitter.com/mTY0csGlCF
— Jake Loader (@JakeLoader1) July 23, 2020
A spokesperson for the university said: “We are very sorry about the disruption to local residents. We continue to work closely with the contractor BAM, who are responsible for the site, to look at how they can minimise disruption as much as possible. This has recently included an offer to fund temporary office space for residents trying to work from home.
“BAM is keeping us closely informed about progress on site and we will ensure that residents receive timely updates when we have new information available.”
A spokesperson for BAM said: “We are working within the planning constraints to undertake this work as quickly and as safely as possible.
“We have every sympathy for our neighbours about the noise from and inconvenience caused by the deconstruction especially for those who are close by. We have offered the close group of neighbours alternative working space away from the scheme and hope this will be of some assistance to them although none have taken it up so far. Meanwhile, we are doing whatever we can to minimise noise and dust, monitoring noise and vibration levels, and have shortened the working hours of the noisiest deconstruction machinery.
“We are extremely frustrated that these very unusual circumstances have arisen and feel bad about the impact on our neighbours given that there is a very limited amount that can be done while deconstruction takes place.
“We remain very grateful to them for their forbearance. Ultimately the University and surrounding community will be proud of the new building which will improve on what was there before. We will still achieve this, just later than originally planned, and we will keep doing what we can to reduce disruption in the meantime.”