As reported by The Morning Advertiser in October 2018, the Star Inn in Guildford, Surrey, was told it must reduce its noise levels following complaints from neighbouring flats, which the council had granted planning permission for despite warnings that their proximity to a live music venue made them unsuitable for residential use.
However, operator Shepherd Neame revealed that it planned to appeal the noise abatement notice served on the imperilled venue where The Stranglers played their first gig – for which live music is a source of between 30% and 40% of its income according to general manager Georgina Baker.
It was also revealed that 25,000 people had signed an online petition calling for the local council to rethink the decision.
According to website Law and Your Environment, an abatement notice can be served by a local authority if it believes that a noise problem amounts to a statutory nuisance, with the notice potentially demanding that the noise be stopped altogether or limited to certain times of day.
Discussing the case in October 2018, a spokesperson from Guildford Borough Council explained: “The notice requires the nuisance to stop by reducing noise levels. This does not mean silence and that no noise can be made.”
As reported by The Morning Advertiser in late January 2018, an agent-of-change principle, protecting the UK’s live music venues from property developers, received Government backing following the introduction of a bill by Labour MP John Spellar – the representative for Warley – on 10 January.
Common sense prevails
A statement from Shepherd Neame on 1 July revealed that its appeal against the notice had been upheld.
“This is excellent news, common sense has prevailed,” Shepherd Neame property and services director George Barnes explained.
“We would like to thank the many thousands of people who have supported our fight to save the Star as a live music venue and helped preserve a vital part of the cultural landscape of Guildford and the south-east.”
Even five years ago, The Morning Advertiser was hot on this topic with its Make Some Noise campaign.