Top tips: take steps to avoid noise complaints

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Sun's out: the great weather has been a boon to many pubs
Sun's out: the great weather has been a boon to many pubs
The unusually hot weather over the past few months has meant that many operators have used any external space to their full extent.

While this is great for trade and attracting customers, it can cause headaches if your premises are in close proximity to local residents.

We have noticed that clients are receiving an increasing number of enforcement letters and visits following a summer of music and merriment in their beer gardens. Here are our tips for managing the impact of those dreaded complaints:

- Best practice is to maintain a good relationship with your neighbours and keep them informed of any events that may be taking place at your premises. However, if you have found yourself in a situation where complaints have already been received, contact the local residents and use the help of your local licensing and environmental health officers to see if solutions can be reached on an informal basis.

- If complaints have already escalated, take advice from the authorities and ensure that you are proactive and willing to co-operate with them. Demonstrating a commitment to finding solutions and preventing further problems can go a long way towards improving relationships and showing that you are a responsible operator.

- Ideally, all events that are likely to cause any disturbance should be risk assessed in advance. If you have not already formulated a risk assessment and complaints have been received, use the content of those complaints to form the basis of your risk assessment. You may consider steps such as staff regularly monitoring the boundary of the premises for noise breakout, effective dispersal of customers and the terminal hour for playing of any amplified music.

- Finally, consider whether you need to appoint an acoustic consultant. The installation of new sound systems or having amplified music in areas where you may not usually have events is great for attracting customers but without proper consideration of the potential impact of those new sources of noise, a successful event can quickly turn into a nuisance to your neighbours with the threat of complaints and enforcement action.

- Consistent complaints regarding noise emanating from your premises can pose a significant risk to your business. 

- You could risk being served with a noise abatement notice, with the breach of any such notice carrying the possibility of an unlimited fine, or your premises licence could be reviewed. While the authorities and your neighbours may be sympathetic to a one-off noisy event, consistent disruption leaves you open to financial penalties and the risk of having the hours permitted on your premises licence curtailed.

Related topics: Licensing law

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