Are you a Manager or Owner responsible for holding live music events at a pub or other venue within Hastings? Are you interested in learning how to handle noise nuisance complaints? Can you contribute your own experience?
An alarmingly high number of venues in Hastings have recently received complaints about noise levels during live gigs. As a result pubs have been threatened with fines and statutory nuisance charges and told to implement expensive changes. Some venues have been forced to keep windows and doors closed during gigs, creating stifling conditions for staff and audiences indoors. Others have been told to reduce music volume to the extent where musicians can’t be properly heard and to monitor sound levels constantly. These measures can put people off attending music events and adversely impact small businesses in a sector that already operates with very tight profit margins. It can be ‘the last straw’ in deciding whether a venue should stop hosting live music events or even cease trading altogether.
We need to act together to influence policy and ensure that Hastings remains famous for its live music.
There is no doubt that going out to see a band is one of the main activities enjoyed by locals and visitors to Hastings alike. We are justly proud of the number and quality of acts that perform in the town. Sadly, Hastings’ growing musical reputation is being jeopardised by a minority who persistently complain about the music being too loud, even in areas where live music is historically well established. No-one wishes to create bad feeling with their neighbours and every care should be taken to comply with noise reduction requests, but not if the measures will be so restrictive or expensive that they will adversely affect a business. Remember that the Local Authority cannot legally enforce noise-limiting measures without acquiring an Abatement Notice from the Magistrate’s Court, which can then be appealed.
I intend to consult with Publicans, qualified local Legal practitioners and Hastings Borough Council and produce a plain English document outlining the rights and responsibilities of live music event holders regarding noise complaints. It will be available on request and free of charge.
In order to ensure that the concerns of Hastings Publicans and venue owners/Managers are accurately reflected regarding this complex area of Law, I need your input. Please email; email@example.com and tell me about your experience of noise complaints, how you responded and how this was handled by the Council.
Charlotte Bishop is a Hastings music lover and partner of local musician and performer Michael Prochak. She has worked at Citizens Advice for the past three years.