‘Don’t buy house near pub’ operators say of noise complaints

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Noise complaints: publicans have expressed support for a Welsh pub facing the end of its outside live music events
Noise complaints: publicans have expressed support for a Welsh pub facing the end of its outside live music events

Related tags Noise

Operators have shared their anger after a Welsh pub said it was unsure it would be able to continue trading because of a noise abatement notice.

The King’s Head in Llandudno, had to restrict its lucrative annual music festival and must cancel all of its regular outdoor music events​, following a council order.

Stephen Reese told The Morning Advertiser​: “I just can't see the pub surviving without [music events]. I don't know where the extra money would come from.”

Pub operators have left comments in support of the operator on The Morning Advertiser​’s Facebook page, with many deriding “moaners”. 

They also criticised individuals who move to live near existing pubs and then make noise complaints.

Fight for survival

One wrote: “When there’s no real boozers left – just soulless corporate chains – I hope the moaners remember their remarks. We are fighting to keep our pub alive. Every customer is precious. Again, don’t buy a house near a pub if you don’t want occasional noise.

Another said: “There's always one that spoils for everyone else.”

Graeme Cushion, a partner at alcohol licensing firm Poppleston Allen, said at any given time he has half a dozen cases of this kind on his desk.

He told The Morning Advertiser ​that the process of such notices being issued could be sudden.

He explained: “All the environmental health officer has to do is witness the nuisance. They receive complaints from local residents or whoever and then they are authorised to determine whether something is a nuisance or not. 

“There's no decibel test or anything like that, it’s a subjective assessment.” 

Anxiety for publicans

He added: “Some of them, in the worst case scenario, don't even give the poor pub operator any great warning, it's just suddenly facing a noise abatement notice. 

“They're pretty horrible because you've only got very limited grounds of appeal against them. You have three weeks to appeal and, if you don't, it's hanging over you like a constant threat. 

“If a breach of a notice is subsequently witnessed then you can be facing an unlimited fine and there are also powers under the legislation to seize amplification music equipment.”

Kent-based brewer and pub operator Shepherd Neame successfully overturned a noise abatement notice served to one of its pubs earlier this summer, as reported by The Morning Advertiser​.

The Star Inn in Guildford, Surrey, was told it must reduce its noise levels​ following complaints from neighbouring flats in October 2018.

However, the brewer pointed out planning permission for the flats had been granted despite warnings that its proximity to a live music venue made it unsuitable for residential use.

A staggering number of 25,000 people signed an online petition calling for the council to rethink its decision.

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