Pub served noise abatement orders due to laughter

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Good for the community: pub served noise abatement orders despite not changing operational style in more than a decade (Credit: Getty/DisobeyArt)
Good for the community: pub served noise abatement orders despite not changing operational style in more than a decade (Credit: Getty/DisobeyArt)

Related tags Licensing laws Licensing Poppleston allen Whitby

A Yorkshire pub has been served with three noise abatement orders despite not having changed its operating style for more than a decade.

Licensee of the Little Angel, Whitby, Richard Nattriss, stated his licence was now due to be reviewed following three complaints from nearby residents of noise from wheelie bins as well as loud laughter and music at the pub at night.

He said: “We're very much a community pub, very much a local’s pub, and very, very busy for entertainment.

“My budget for entertainment is £800 per week. I put about £40,000 a year into the culture of music in this town and [the complainants] have just moved into Whitby and gone ‘stop all that’.

Potential redundancies 

“We use it [to raise money] for charities. We raised £5,000 last year.”

Nattriss, who has been licensee of the Angel for 12 years, claimed the pub has always been well known in the area as a live music venue and, despite having a music licence until 2am, ensures everything is finished and quiet by 11pm during the week and 12.30am at the weekend so as not to cause a disturbance.

The operator also stated the complainants had only recently moved into the area and he had not changed the pub’s business model since he has been behind the bar but had injected thousands of pounds into developing the beer garden during Covid.

Furthermore, Nattriss stated if the noise abatement orders were to be upheld and his licence changed, it could result in redundancies at the pub, which is a wet-led Star Pubs & Bars site.

He added: “I'm probably going to have to make a member of staff redundant on this.

Genuinely suffering 

“All the business rates I pay, all the tax I pay, PAYE, pension schemes, all the rest of these, are potentially at risk because somebody decided to move next to a pub that has been exactly the same operational wise for the past 10 years.”

However, Poppleston Allen senior consultant solicitor Andy Grimsey explained all pubs have a duty to promote licensing objectives, one of which being prevention of public nuisance, and one of the main causes of licence reviews by local residents or the environment health officer was noise from music or customers.

Grimsey said: “A noise abatement notice ‘shall’ be issued if the officer is satisfied a noise nuisance exists but this legal test still allows a degree of discretion and common sense. The notice itself can also be appealed if necessary.

“With regard to people moving near a pub, the ‘agent-of-change’ principle​, which says the person or business responsible for the change is responsible for managing the impact of the change is not part of licensing law at present, despite campaigns to make it so, although it does feature in planning law.

“Again, anecdotally, we find licensing sub-committees, when having to assess whether noise nuisance has taken place often do [consider] the fact a pub may have been playing music for years without issue, although if local residents are genuinely suffering from noise nuisance this can be a very hard argument to win.”

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