Make Some Noise: Publican who spent £12k to limit noise escapes 'inaudibility' licence condition

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Hearing

Licensing consultant Gill Sherratt said the inaudbile condition was too vague
Licensing consultant Gill Sherratt said the inaudbile condition was too vague
A licensee, who spent £12,000 in an effort to limit noise disturbance from her pub, has escaped an ‘inaudibility’ condition on her licence, after battling through her second licence review hearing.

Nicola Barcroft, of the Thwaites-owned Station Hotel in Helmshore, Lancashire, agreed to fit double-glazed windows and doors, blinds and a noise limiter in the pub following a review in January due to noise complaints.

However, following one more complaint and a visit from environmental health (EH) inspectors, the 150-year-old pub was taken to a second review at the end of last month.

The council made a minor change to the wording of the condition regarding monitoring checks of the building while there is regulated entertainment, but failed to implement a condition calling for there to be “no audible amplified music”.

Licensing consultant Gill Sherratt, who represented the venue in the hearing, said the condition was too vague due to a high court precedent case.

'Procedural irregularities'

“It’s a pub for goodness sake – there is going to be a little bit of noise. I expected EH to be more sympathetic and balanced, and the case was littered with procedural irregularities. They claimed the licensee had been unco-operative when she has spent £12,000 and they didn’t mention the meetings she had with them. It was really one-sided,” she said.

“It was a good result but Nicola still has the abatement notice hanging over her and that, in my view, is wrong.”

She added that Barcroft received more than 70 individual letters of support and four residents spoke in favour of the venue at the hearing.

Thwaites area business manager Linda Goodfellow said: “It was almost like [the council] had to show they were doing something.

“EH tried to argue Nicola changed the pub’s offer but there’s been entertainment there for 15 years. And the complaints they mentioned were all historical, before Nicola had done the work to the pub.”

Regarding the inaudibility condition, a spokeswoman from Rossendale Borough Council said: “While not unlawful, the conditions would need to be specific enough to ensure the licence holder knows what is required of them.”

Join campaign to change the law

The Make Some Noise campaign aims to unite the industry to fight for a fair hearing for pubs in disputes over noise complaints.

We believe residents moving near a pub with a history of hosting live music should show due respect and ensure their home is soundproofed.

If you have a story to tell email or call her on 01293 610305.

To join in the debate, tweet us with the hashtag #pubsnoise or post a message on our facebook page.

Related topics Licensing law Legislation

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