Something has come to my attention recently, and it’s something that is starting to get on my nerves…The closure of small licensed live music venues.
I’m not talking about closures that have happened due to financial issues and the like (as sad as these are), I’m talking about closures made due to noise complaints. Noise complaints from ‘neighbours’ who have moved in knowing that they live in the very close vicinity of a live music venue…
The petition, entitled “Urgent Review of Noise Abatement legislation” states the below:
We call upon the Secretary of State to conduct an urgent review of all applicable Noise Legislation so that the collective right of local communities to be able to enjoy well-run and managed music venues is properly balanced within the law against the individual rights of owners and occupiers of adjoining properties to limit environmental noise.
We request that this review specifically addresses the possibility of new owner/occupiers or developers misusing existing legislation to demand a lowering of environmental noise in a zone in which it has traditionally existed, resulting in the potential closure of highly valued community spaces including music venues, church halls and arts centres.
After signing the above petition, I decided to look further in to this and came across the sad story of The Blind Tiger in Brighton. This is a venue that has been registered to play live music since the 1854 census. That’s over 160 years!
In early 2013, they had a new neighbour move in to the flat above their venue. It would appear that this new neighbour didn’t appreciate the music that was being played so spoke to the management team at The Blind Tiger who arranged for the bass and overall volume to be reduced. After some back and forth, more adjustments were made by the venue and seemingly none by the new neighbour until almost a year later when The Blind Tiger were served with a notice from the council.
This was Notice 2014/00134/EPA80C/EH: a “Notice to Abate a Statutory Nuisance, under the provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990”. Essentially, this means that they stop disturbing their neighbour or they stop playing music. If they stop playing music, this is the end of the club. Unfortunately, this is what happened and The Blind Tiger closed on Friday 16th May, 2014.
While I appreciate that anyone has a right to live where they want, you wouldn’t buy a jar of peanut butter if you were allergic to peanuts! If you don’t want to listen to live music while in the comfort of your own home, then find somewhere else to live… It’s as simple as that!
Being a big fan of live music, this is something that I’m quite passionate about and I would please urge you all to sign the petition to allow the Noise Abatement legislation to be discussed in Parliament before more clubs start closing. I’m hearing of similar tales to that of The Blind Tiger from up and down the country. It saddens me.
Thanks for reading and please leave your thoughts below.