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Last Updated: Friday, 12 October 2007, 12:46 GMT 13:46 UK
'Nuisance violinists' set to move
Violinists Oliver Morris and Hazel Ross
The musicians are angry at the response (pic: MEN Syndication)
Two violinists are looking for a new home after council officials threatened to seize their antique instruments because of "noise nuisance".

Oliver Morris and Hazel Ross, both 25, were told their practice would not be tolerated by the anti-social behaviour action team at Manchester City Council.

Mr Morris said the threat followed a complaint from just one neighbour.

Manchester City Council has accepted more appropriate ways of resolving the issue should have been examined.

Mr Morris, who has performed with the Halle and BBC Symphony Orchestras, said: "We are definitely moving because of the situation and because of the way it has been dealt with."

In a letter, the council said further practice by the pair at their Whalley Range home would lead to a Noise Abatement Notice, which could be followed by a warrant to enter the property and seize the violins.

It said: "This behaviour is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by Housing Services."

The musicians moved into the flat at Woodlawn Court in September 2006.

I accept in this case it would appear there were more appropriate ways of resolving the matter
Deborah McLaughlin
Director of housing

Their lease states that they should not "cause annoyance to the owners and occupiers of the other flats comprised in the building or so as to be audible outside the flat between the hours of 11pm and 8am".

But the couple said they never practise after 2000 BST or before 0900 BST and the dispute was with one "aggressive" neighbour who refused to discuss the issue.

In his written response to the council, Mr Morris said the resident in the flat above had confronted them two months after they moved in.

He added: "On the two occasions the resident confronted us since, he has behaved in an aggressive manner and shown a complete lack of respect towards us, refusing to hold any dialogue."

Case investigated

The director of housing for Manchester City Council, Deborah McLaughlin, said the authority had a duty to respond to the complaint.

"While it is unacceptable to behave in a way that disturbs a neighbour, I accept in this case it would appear there were more appropriate ways of resolving the matter."

Ms McLaughlin said it would have been more sensible to try and bring the parties together.

"I will investigate this case to bring about an early resolution in a more satisfactory way and regret that a letter was issued indicating legal action at this early stage," she added.

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