Noise ‘nightmare’ for retired couple living near rugby club

Residents who live near the UK’s largest amateur rugby club have vowed to fight plans for an outside amplified sound licence after suffering more than two years of noise which they say is driving them from their home.

Retired couple Peter and Margaret Afford, who live next door to Scarborough Rugby Union Football Club in Scalby, have logged 60 complaints with Scarborough Council’s Environmental Health department since the club opened in January 2009 after moving from its town centre location.

And if councillors agree to grant the licence at a planning meeting today, Mr Afford said they will have no choice but to move out of their home of 27 years so they can live their lives in peace.

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He said: “Life has been a nightmare since the club opened and we will be driven out of our home if this application goes through - it’s that serious. I don’t know where we would go but we can’t really live here on a long term basis.”

Officers have recommended that the licence, which will allow amplified music, public announcements and jingles to be played at certain functions and events, should be approved.

Mr Afford, who was assistant secretary at the rugby club, as well as a member for 30 years, maintained he had nothing against the club or the matches that were held there.

However, he said the noise from certain events was sometimes so bad the couple had been forced to leave their house.

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He said: “It’s destroying our lives. It was made doubly difficult when my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer and then her sister died of cancer the same year.

“We have had real traumas going on and I don’t feel like we have got any leeway from the rugby club at all.

“Our lives are in the hands of the council. If it goes through today I don’t know what we will do. A number of residents are going to the meeting and we will be putting our views across.”

The application has been slammed by two parish councils, which have both received a number of complaints from residents over existing noise issues.

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In a written statement to Scarborough Council objecting to the proposals, a spokesman for Newby and Scalby Parish Council said: “The application has raised a considerable amount of very strong feeling within the parish.”

The spokesman said conditions limiting noise at the club were put in force when planning permission was granted to protect residents and approving the application would “make a mockery” of this.

Burniston Parish Council has also objected, stating that the music and noise from the club can be clearly heard by residents up to a mile away, particularly on Coastal Road, Scalby Road and Burniston Gardens.

A parish council spokesman said: “It’s a rugby club, not an entertainment centre and there is no need for tannoy announcements and jingles.”

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Whitby and Scarborough MP Robert Goodwill has written to the town council on behalf of residents.

He said: “I have met with some of the objectors and I have passed on their comments to the council. Obviously the rugby club is a tremendous asset to Scarborough but at the same time they must be aware of the concerns of their neighbours.

“I hope some compromise can be achieved so local people don’t feel their lives are being blighted and at the same time the rugby club can continue to run events at the rugby ground.”

Scarborough Rugby Club was unavailable for comment. Scarborough Council would not comment on whether legal action against the club had started and declined to issue a statement ahead of today’s meeting.