Q. I own a local pub located in a residential area. By and large I have a great relationship with the local community and often run charity nights and sponsor the local under-16 football teams. In the past I have arranged for live bands on New Year’s Eve and in the past two years, I have obtained temporary events notice until 2am.
However, in early January last year, some of the locals made comments to me and my team about the noise coming from my pub. I don’t wish to fall out with any locals – nor find myself facing any noise related enforcement from my environmental health officer to start off the new year. Is there anything you can suggest to help me with this?
A. It is important that you take appropriate steps to ensure that no nuisance is caused to local residents and mitigate the risk of noise complaints.
Alongside any existing measures you may have in place to prevent nuisance, it is advisable to put together a noise management plan which addresses things such as a regularly monitoring noise levels of the live music and undertaking noise checks, reduction of the volume of music and/or use of noise limiters set at the appropriate level where necessary, consideration of the positioning of any speakers and ensuring closing of doors and windows to prevent noise escape. This plan should include managing the wind down period and how you will control dispersal at the end of the night including considerations for the use of door staff. This is good planning for such event and can minimise potential issues.
Where you are uncertain about appropriate mitigation measures another option to explore is to employ the services of an expert acoustician to evaluate your pub and see if there are any recommendations for minimising noise emissions.
Given the concerns raised previously, it may be advisable to let your locals know about your plans as early as possible and perhaps have a meeting with those residents or a representative on their behalf to discuss the event and the measures you will have in place to allay any concerns. You could even give them a phone number to call should they have any pre-event questions or issues on the night. Also, if there are significant concerns raised about the later trading hours, and it would not impact too negatively on your party and profits, could you consider closing a little earlier to appease your neighbours?
Whether you apply for the hour extension or not, remember you still have a duty to promote the licensing objectives, and this includes the prevention of public nuisance. The fact that it is the party time of year, will not appease an irate resident or dissuade an environmental health officer from taking enforcement action. Therefore, it is imperative you take appropriate steps to ensure that no nuisance is caused to your neighbours during the live music event