Artist Cleo Houghton begs Hackney Council to solve the noise mystery in her Stoke Newington flat

Artist Cleo Houghton has created a piece of art to demonstrate the effect the noisy pipes are having

Artist Cleo Houghton has created a piece of art to demonstrate the effect the noisy pipes are having on her. Picture: Design by Cleo Houghton and photo by Brian Would - Credit: Design by Cleo Houghton and photo by Brian Would.

An artist is suffering sleepless nights because of noise vibration in her Stoke Newington council flat - but where the noise has been coming from for the past 18 months remains a mystery.

Cleo Houghton has been aware of a low frequency sound since water pumps were installed in Leicester Court off Church Street in August 2017.

The Citizen’s Advice Bureau and MP Diane Abbott have written to Hackney Council on her behalf asking them to find a solution and half the residents in the block signed two petitions – but Cleo’s request for a specialist acoustic engineer to monitor the structure borne - rather than airborne - noise inside her flat has gone unheeded.

Studies have shown low frequency noise annoyance can cause headaches, tiredness, lack of concentration and irritation.

“It causes me to be run down all the time from lack of sleep, and it has made me ill with lots of little illnesses on top of a chronic condition I have already,” said Cleo who has lived in the block for 15 years.

“I can’t understand why they are allowing this nightmare, which is very real to me, go on unstopped knowing it’s making me ill.”

“When you have a new building they test each home before they allow anyone to move in by law, but they didn’t do that when they installed the pumps here.

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“These pumps are modern, but the block was built in 1951 and it wouldn’t have been able to be built nowadays with that kind of noise going through the structure.

“So many different staff have had a go at this from different departments including the Hackney environmental health team who said vibration noise is not in their remit and sent plumbers last year to soundproof the pumps and they tinketed with them and went home.”

A council spokesperson said sound monitoring equipment in Cleo’s home had “found no issue”. But Cleo claims it was set to the wrong frequency to detect the noise. The council also paid for an independent report to check acoustic and vibration levels, which concluded the pumps were “working with negligible noise levels that were well below the recommended maximum”, and that they were “very unlikely to be the source of noise in the block”.

“Cushioning and anti-vibration equipment were installed early last year in the pump room of the residents block to reduce any noise coming from the room,” added the spokesperson. “We have been touch with the resident and asked them to contact our housing repairs team if they have any further issues.”