Complaints lead to live music ban

PUBLISHED: 13:52 21 December 2006 | UPDATED: 10:03 31 May 2010

MUSIC has been banned from the Saffron Walden Conservative Club after 120 years following complaints from neighbours. Fortunately for the club, the decision will not affect any functions being held there over Christmas and the New Year as it doesn t take

MUSIC has been banned from the Saffron Walden Conservative Club after 120 years following complaints from neighbours.

Fortunately for the club, the decision will not affect any functions being held there over Christmas and the New Year as it doesn't take effect until 21 days after the club receives official notification.

Uttlesford District Council's licensing committee decided at the council's licensing committee last Tuesday to 'remove the provision of regulated entertainment from the club's premises certificate' following noise complaints from neighbours.

Licensing officer Murray Hardy explained how the changes would affect the club: "This decision means that regulated entertainment, which is generally defined as live or recorded music, singing and dancing, has effectively been banned.

"The decision will not affect the sale of alcohol at the club or other activities such as carpet bowls or bridge."

The club will still be able to play background music at a low volume, but discos, live bands and dances will no longer be allowed.

Anybody wanting to appeal should write to The Clerk to The Justices, Essex Magistrates' Courts, Osprey House, Colchester Road, Chelmsford CM2 5PF

At the hearing last week, the licensing committee heard evidence from the club's neighbours in Museum Street before deciding the club's noise levels constituted a public nuisance.

Club secretary John Gerrard said: "The club will be appealing - all the work that needs to be done is being done this week.

"We are soundproofing the doors on the north side and having a sound attenuator fitted to limit noise levels.

"We have blocked off the extraction fans and are having a special ceiling fitted, as well as dry-lining one of the walls to aid soundproofing. The work is expected to cost £20,000."

Club chairman Ray Withers said: "In as much as we haven't fulfilled the licensing committee's requirements regarding the instalment of soundproofing materials, the licensing committee's decision was fair.

"We are losing lots of bookings because of this and suffering financially as a consequence."

The Conservative club is one of the oldest clubs to have continually operated in the same building in the country and has been hosting musical events since it opened in the 1880s.

Michael Perry, executive manager of corporate governance at Uttlesford District Council said: "The committee's decision is not effective for 21 days and if an appeal is lodged within that period the club can continue to trade as usual until the appeal is disposed of.

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