Nightmare Neighbours and How Not to Be One

As second and third years begin to flock back into the hallowed streets of Lenton, it is important to remember that our neighbours aren’t just students. Zero Degrees West conducted a nationwide survey on OnePoll about if people in the UK really do love their neighbours. The survey raised some interesting questions – which is better to live next to, a student or a meth dealer?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer to that question is the former. However, in this survey of 2,000 people, students were voted the second-worst neighbours to have (11.3%), second only to meth dealers (51.5%). While I don’t know of many people who live next to meth dealers (though I’m sure Walter White’s neighbours fell for his family-guy image), it isn’t hard to see why people are averse to living next to students. (In fact, Louie Clark, a fellow student, pointed out that meth-dealers and students aren’t at all dissimilar – we have a shared tendency to play our music too loud and be introverted at times, anyway).

Sorry, local residents of Lenton.

But it isn’t easy to see why students are considered awful neighbours. We’re loud. A lot of us aren’t local, meaning we lack inherent respect for the area (it’s only temporary, anyway). Some of us strut around dressed like we’re Kardashians (apparently, the majority of Britons’ nightmare neighbours). And some of us maybe sometimes occasionally hold loud parties – the fifth top neighbourly grievance, according to the OnePoll survey.

“Students were voted the second-worst neighbours to have, second only to meth dealers”

It is a well-known phenomenon that students live in a university bubble, apparently unaware that life as normal continues going on around them for the vast majority of the population. Only a five minute walk from Nottingham’s Jubilee Campus are rows and rows of suburban dwellings and pretty little bungalows, very few owned by any student accommodation lettings agencies, and it can be very disquieting finding yourself in this area after spending so much time on campus and around the largely student-heavy streets of Lenton, realising that high school students, retired people and ordinary normal people with careers see these streets as their home, just five minutes away from your party house for just over six months.

But sometimes it might be important to take a walk through these residential areas, to remind ourselves that not only is Nottingham temporary for us (most of us, that is), we are also temporary to it – but this does not mean it isn’t a permanent home for thousands of other families.

While parties like this might appeal to Uni students, it's wise to take into consideration our neighbours

While parties like this might appeal to uni students, it’s wise to take into consideration our neighbours

As the 2014 film Bad Neighbours vividly shows, locals and students do not really mix. And while we may not get up to quite the same antics as the boys in the first film’s notorious fraternity (and I hope no respectable University of Nottingham student starts a chain of events resulting in an infant eating a used condom), it is important for students to be respectful of their area and the people they may find themselves living nearby. And while the nature of being a student means we do (most likely) inherently avoid some of the issues on the list of neighbourly grievances (#1 – have a loud dog, #7 – have obnoxious kids), we can learn from the nation’s top wish list of neighbourly qualities to try to make our community a brighter place for everyone – and make the locals resent us a little less.

“Not only is Nottingham temporary for us, we are also temporary to it”

The survey conducted includes responses from students, too, and this wish list is as follows:

  1. Someone who will sign for deliveries (66.8%)
  2. Someone you can chat with (66%)
  3. Someone who will call the police if they suspect you’re being burgled (64.8%)
  4. Someone who will let you know if you’ve left your car’s headlights on (49.4%)
  5. Someone who makes sure their garden/house is in good condition (33.2%)
  6. Someone who will lend you tools/ household items (31.1%)
  7. Someone who will look after your pets while you’re away (25.3%)
  8. Someone who brings a bottle of wine around when you first move in (19.9%)
  9. Someone who will give you a lift to work (16.9%)
  10. Someone who will cook for you if you’re ill (14.7%)

And while not all of these may seem possible or plausible (which student keeps household tools around?), it takes nothing to sign for deliveries or have a nice neighbourly chat. And I think we can all agree that sharing wine is a great way to bond – even if this results in you meeting more fellow UoN students rather than necessarily the locals (who to be quite honest probably aren’t interested in meeting us, anyway.)

Not that getting to know your fellow student neighbours is a bad thing. After all, it’s just like living in halls.


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from One Poll.  Total sample size was 2,000 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken from the 24th – 26th August 2016.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

Matteo Everett

Photos from Universal, used with permission from Zero Degrees West

One Comment
  • Virginia Rochester
    7 October 2016 at 17:07
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    Hi, I am a permanent resident in Lenton, and contrary to what you think, I do like meeting my new student neighbours-it makes such a difference to have that sense of community. I also have high school kids and a job; and I try to remember that students are in a bit of a bubble but it does make me angry when we are woken up again at 3am from students coming back from Rock City or somewhere on a Weds night. Thanks for a good article-please keep spreading the message to love your neighbour (and you can let me know if I have obnoxious kids)

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