Led by local promoter Mark Stack, campaigners are calling for an end to the practice where residents can deliberately move next door to a long-established music venue or pub and force its closure with noise complaints to the council.
Brighton & Hove councillors will be obliged to debate the issue at a full council meeting on Thursday (26 March), after Stack’s petition, urging councillors to give pubs greater protection, gained almost 4,000 signatures.
The council’s petition scheme states that if a petition receives at least 1,250 signatures councillors must debate it in the meeting in which it is presented. Thursday’s meeting will be the last full council meeting before councillors face re-election in May.
Make Some Noise
The petition ties in with the Publican’s Morning Advertiser’s Make Some Noise campaign, which is calling for the government to implement an agent-of-change principle, which 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.
Last year, Blind Tiger Club in Brighton closed after the council issued the venue with a noise abatement notice in response to complaints by someone who had moved into the flat above – despite the fact over 15,000 locals signed a petition to save the long-standing venue.
Stack said legislation under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which deals with controlling toxic emissions into the environment as well as measures to deal with litter-louts and noise abatement, is “being abused”.
“Clearly it is designed to protect residents from unruly neighbours and extreme noise from industry. I can’t believe it was intentionally worded to destroy our music venues,” he said.
“This is our cultural heritage we are losing and it needs protecting with as much endeavour as historic buildings, twee streets and Battersea chimneys.”
He added that he is not calling for a noise-makers charter but just wants the council to “redress the balance, working together to remove the ability for somebody to move close to an established venue and then have it closed down.”
Mike Weatherly MP for Hove, who has backed the petition and supports Make Some Noise, said: “Protecting live music venues is crucial. Brighton & Hove has a wealth of established music venues that contribute a huge amount to our city and it would be a tremendous shame to see any of them threatened.
“I recently raised the importance of live music venues across the country to our economy with the Chancellor of the Exchequer and hope that councillors in Brighton & Hove will protect these important local institutions.”
View the petition here.