EXCESSIVE noise and anti-social behaviour from raucous student revellers is having a 'massive impact' on the residents and businesses of a Lake District town.

A meeting of Lakes Parish Council (LPC) heard that University of Cumbria students at the Ambleside campus had been taking part in outdoor football games at 1am and urinating in hedges.

And since last September, security officers have been called out to incidents at the new Fell Court accommodation on 25 nights.

The council believes that a 24-hour live-in warden is essential to tackle the problem and is adamant that it would never have given planning approval to the blocks without one.

In a letter to South Lakeland District Council's (SLDC) environmental health officer, LPC clerk Michael Johnson said that the council and community felt like it had been 'led up the garden path' during the planning process for the Rydal Road accommodation.

"It is absolutely useless to have a warden whose on site presence ends at 11pm," he wrote. "Completely and utterly useless. All issues relating to noise, parties and antisocial behaviour happen between 11pm and the early hours of the morning.

"To employ a security firm to deal with this is also useless. The current experience shows them turning up after being called by irate locals, they deal with the issue, they leave and the problem then begins again."

However, a spokesperson for the University of Cumbria told the Gazette that the block has never had a live-in warden and it has always employed a residence life assistant, who leaves the site at 11pm.

SLDC is currently investigating the noise and antisocial behaviour complaints and environmental health officers have issued two warning letters.

Ambleside and Grasmere ward councillor Vivienne Rees said that she had also received complaints from residents about the disturbances.

"It's a few silly people who make trouble for a lot of people," she said. "Particularly, there's a guest house not very far away and they have had to reimburse customers because there was such a noise at 2am in the morning, the sort of thing that really is unacceptable.

"It's very sad and it's really stupid people. Most of the students are fine but we do get the odd silly ones."

Emma Bale, deputy director student and staff services and head of campus services, informed the council that security staff were badged members of the Security Industry Authority operating within the university’s disciplinary processes, with authority to act in terms of student compliance with their instruction.

University staff have attempted to reduce noise by fitting a new closing mechanism for the doors facing neighbouring residences so they would only open in the event of fire.

However, Mr Johnson wrote: "The only way to deal directly with this is a resident warden on site who can intervene immediately when the problems begin, identify the perpetrators and then report directly to the university who can deal with these people."

A spokesperson for the University of Cumbria said: "The University of Cumbria was concerned to receive complaints of unsociable behaviour in and around its campus and have been working to address these concerns with key stakeholders including local residents.

"The university has an approved site management plan in place which has been previously agreed by the Lake District National Park Authority, as part of the planning process.

"The university do take these matters seriously and as such has strengthened the on-site management arrangements further by increasing the existing arrangement with further supervision and security resource. Furthermore, we remain committed to working with local residents and other key stakeholders to continue to positively manage the situation."