Complaint made about ‘astonishingly loud’ music during wedding receptions at Saffron Walden tourist attraction

Bridge End Garden

Bridge End Garden - Credit: Archant

An angry resident has called for the town council to put a stop to the “astonishingly loud” disco music blaring out during wedding receptions at a tranquil Saffron Walden tourist attraction.

Currently Saffron Walden Town Council permits up to six weddings a year to take place in the Grade II Victorian Bridge End Gardens, which boast “magical properties of tranquillity and beauty” according to the council’s website. Those words were quoted back to the council by Castle Street resident John Tennant, who addressed the recreation and playing fields committee on Monday night.

“I am appealing to you to restore the peace and tranquillity of Bridge End Garden,” Mr Tennant said, adding his and his wife’s lives had become “unbearable” from the music and din on the evenings of the weddings.

The conditions of the venue hire state that all music should be turned off by 11.30pm, but the actual enforcement of this has proved difficult, and Mr Tennant said on one occasion he was disturbed until 2.45am.

The council currently charges £500 for use of the venue, which has a capacity of 250 guests, and made £2,166 from hosting receptions in 2013/14.

“Is this worth having?” Councillor Keith Eden asked the assembled committee. The councillors decided the Gardens did lend themselves to wedding receptions, but a stricter enforcement policy was required.

“We need to be more Draconian in what we are offering – we aren’t offering a venue for a rock concert,” Cllr Eden continued.

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Mayor Sandra Eden agreed. She said: “It doesn’t lend itself as a rave up or a rock star event.”

The councillors voted on looking into the logistics and price-tag of hiring external security to enforce the closing time, and also considered the possibility of only allowing ‘wedding breakfasts’ – thereby closing the venue at 5pm before the possibility of disturbance.

The prohibition of amplified music was also mooted, but Cllr Mike Hibbs advised caution on getting carried away, given the use of amplifiers for wedding speeches.

• “We can make as many rules as we like in this chamber, but what’s important is to know whether they can be enforced,” he said.

What do you think about the complaint? Have you experienced noise disturbance from weddings held at Bridge End Gardens? Should wedding receptions be allowed there? E-mail us at