Make Some Noise: "We appealed against 'barely audible' condition and it was tightened to 'inaudible'"

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Music, Sound

Licensee Shaun Newnham: 'The same council that benefits from two of the most well-known music festivals is destroying the live music activities of outlets on the island'
Licensee Shaun Newnham: 'The same council that benefits from two of the most well-known music festivals is destroying the live music activities of outlets on the island'
An Isle of Wight publican has hit out at his local council forcing music in his bar to be “inaudible”, after he appealed against an existing condition on his licence.

Shaun Newnham, of the Wight Rock Bar, said the council tightened the condition relating to live and recorded music in his pub after he argued that the “barely audible” condition, imposed last year, was “Draconian” and “ambiguous”.

The council defines “barely audible” as “a level that, while it may be audible is so low in volume that distinct lyrics, tunes, musical instruments and any bass beat cannot be discerned within any adjoining or neighbouring residential premises”.

Newnham appealed for a second time but lost and said the council has now said music must remain below 82 decibels.

The pub was taken to review following complaints from one neighbour, whose house was converted from commercial use 13 years ago.

Case precedent

“I found a case precedent to argue that the use of inaudibility in these cases is unlawful, but they pulled the wool over our eyes because we weren’t represented [by a solicitor] and they had a barrister to trundle all over us,” Newnham said.

“They’ve now left us with a nominal decibel setting. A crowd laughing and shouting would triple the limit. The venue has been here since the late ’60s. The council should have refused planning permission.”

He added: “People should know that the same council that benefits from two of the most well-known music festivals in the UK is destroying the live music activities of outlets on the island.”

He said he has now set up a fighting fund for customers to donate money for soundproofing, so he can continue hosting music.

Poppleston Allen solicitor Steve Burnett said: “It is generally accepted that barely audible conditions are too vague. It appears that the condition relating to noise is now precise as a specific decibel reading.”

Isle of Wight Council failed to provide a comment.

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 ellie.bothwell@wrbm.com 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.

You can also download a template letter to send to your MP

Make Some Noise letter

Make Some Noise letter.docx 0.01 MB

Related topics: Legislation

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