Make Some Noise: Revised planning guidance is 'victory for pubs'

By Ellie Bothwell

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Community pubs minister, Music venue

The revised guidance states that local authorities should consider long-established sources of noise in the vicinity, including pubs
The revised guidance states that local authorities should consider long-established sources of noise in the vicinity, including pubs
The Government has strengthened planning guidance issued to local councils to encourage developers building homes near pubs to install soundproofing — a victory for the Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s Make Some Noise campaign.

For the first time, the guidance specifically mentions pubs and live-music venues, and reiterates that sound insulation should be considered for new residential developments located close to existing businesses.

The Make Some Noise​ campaign united the industry to lobby the Government to protect established pubs and bars that are threatened with closure or strict conditions on their licence due to noise complaints.

Existing noise levels

The revised guidance, issued by Community Pubs Minister Kris Hopkins, states: “The potential effect of a new residential development being located close to an existing business that gives rise to noise should be carefully considered. This is because existing noise levels from the business even if intermittent (for example, a live-music venue) may be regarded as unacceptable by the new residents and subject to enforcement action.

“To help avoid such instances, appropriate mitigation should be considered, including optimising the sound insulation provided by the new development’s building envelope.”

The guidance also states that local authorities should consider long-established sources of noise in the vicinity, such as “church bells, industrial premises, music venues or public houses”.

It adds: “Development will often create noise and existing businesses wanting to develop their business should not have unreasonable restrictions put on them because of changes in nearby land uses since they were established”.

'Victory for pubs'

Hopkins said: “The ‘Great British Pub’ is a national treasure and this Government is determined to help it thrive and prosper. That is why I was happy to endorse the Make Some Noise campaign on behalf of Government. This new guidance is a victory for pubs and music venues, a victory for the communities that enjoy using them, and most of all a victory for common sense.”

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive at the British Beer & Pub Association, welcomed the move.

“Many pubs have been at the heart of their communities for decades or even centuries, and it is good that this is now recognised in the official guidance.

“Burdens should not be placed on existing pubs, when issues arise between pubs and new homes or developments,” she said.

Beverley Whitrick, strategic director at Music Venue Trust — a campaign group for live music venues — said: “The changes to Government planning guidance regarding noise to specifically mention consideration of existing businesses such as live-music venues represents a step in the right direction. We will continue to campaign for the agent-of-change principle to protect the UK’s grassroots venues.”

Save the Pubs Group chair Greg Mulholland MP said: "It is very welcome that the Government have for the first time mentioned pubs and the fact that noise from pubs and other live music venues must be taken into consideration when considering new residential developments.

"I thank community pubs Minister Kris Hopkins for his support on this issue, which has been crucial." 

The agent-of-change principle

The Make Some Noise​ campaign is calling for the Government to implement an ‘agent-of-change principle’. This outlines that a person or business that causes a change in environment is responsible for managing its impact.

It means if residents move, or developments are built, near to a pub they would have to adapt their building to cope with any noise.

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 using the hashtag #pubsnoise or post a message on our Facebook page.

Related topics: Legislation

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1 comment

Plus ca change...

Posted by John Tighe,

"Guidance". Waste of time, There are countless guides to how residential developments should be constructed with respect to existing noise sources - Numerical Standards, British Standard 4142, numerous examples in case law - but when the developer/carpetbagger comes calling with his brown envelope the response, in my case from Birmingham City Council, to my complaints that they had contravened numerous noise and development guidelines, that were adhered to by every other council, was "They are only guidelines".

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