Top tips: beware of the noise in beer gardens

By Poppleston Allen

- Last updated on GMT

Plan ahead: it’s often fun in the sun but heed the advice regarding neighbours
Plan ahead: it’s often fun in the sun but heed the advice regarding neighbours
During the Easter break, one of my highlights was sitting with friends in a beautiful little beer garden for an evening spent catching up over a gin and tonic or two.

We, as with many other customers that day, were making the most of the light nights whiling away the hours with conversation and good food. With the hubbub of people and the clinking of glasses, it was a thoroughly pleasant way to start the bank holiday.

Beer gardens are, of course, great assets for licensed premises and, if you are lucky enough to have one, a well-run and well-looked-after garden can be a huge draw for customers over the coming months and can even make your premises a destination spot.

Unfortunately, complaints from nearby residents about noise from external areas can become a real issue for some operators and this can, in the worst cases, lead to residents or environmental health o­fficers taking action.

As with many things in licensing, a bit of preparation and planning can reduce the risk of a headache further down the line.

Your staff are of key importance in making sure your beer garden runs smoothly and you may wish to consider the following tips for a stress-free summer:

Brief your staff on the importance of your outside areas to the business. Make them aware of any premises licence conditions relevant to the external areas. There may be restrictions on times of use for example.

Remind your staff that their interactions with local residents who may make a complaint can really make a difference. Dealing with an issue promptly and politely is crucial. Similarly, staff interaction with noisier or more troublesome customers is also important – prevention is always better than cure after all. Also, making sure you have su­fficient staff to monitor the beer garden will help with managing noise.

Make sure all staff members, as opposed to only the senior staff, are aware of your procedures as you never know when and to whom a complaint may be made. It is vital that the person on your team dealing with an issue raised by a local resident knows your procedures and is interested and engaged when speaking to the resident.

Simply fobbing a resident off will not make the issue go away. Remember that the resident is likely to make a note of their experience, which could become a future issue should you wish to make any applications to the council regarding your premises licence or pavement licence, or worse still the resident could bring about a licence review.

For any legal enquiries please visit Poppleston Allen's website​.

Related topics: Licensing law

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