Noise complaints over water gardens

Peter Cousins shows Henry Bellingham around the then new Walpole Water Gardens, in 2004 Picture: Su

Peter Cousins shows Henry Bellingham around the then new Walpole Water Gardens, in 2004 Picture: Su Holliday - Credit: Eastern Daily Press, Archant

A venue is having its licence reviewed after complaints over noise and drunken anti-social behaviour - but its lawyers insist they are 'ill-founded'.

Walpole Water Gardens, at Walpole St Peter, has been licensed to sell alcohol, late night refreshment and stage live music since September 2013.

But neighbours complain of drunkenness near family homes, noise and anti-social behaviour.

West Norfolk council's licensing committee is due to discuss the issues on Wednesday.

But writing in the venue's defence, borough councillor Julian Kirk states acoustic barriers have been fitted which are "working well".

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He adds since warning notices have been stapled to the entrance, footfall has fallen to "virtually nil".

Customers have written in defence of the establishment, saying it is the only place in the village they can go for a meal and licensed drink.

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North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham has written to the council, saying the business has his "100pc support".

"It is a very definite part of the local tourism scene in the Walpoles, has significant local patronage, it is important to the arts scene in west Norfolk and is managed to a very high standard," he says. "It is certainly my opinion that the licensed premises is a vital part of the Water Gardens because without this business just would not be viable."

A resident living near the venue also states they have no complaints.

A letter from solicitors representing proprietor Peter Cousins says the application for a review is "ill-founded" and there is no noise nuisance.

It adds one complainant has a "personal vendetta" and their evidence should be dismissed, along with complaints which have racial overtones.

One complainant says: "We moved here 14 years ago to what was then a peaceful rural village but since the Water Gardens opened as a licensed premises, we have been subjected to loud music, particularly bass, needless noise from the customers and banging of car doors and shouting at closing time, and on occasions loud fireworks." Another said: "When the Water Gardens first opened with an alcohol licence it was absolutely horrendous. We had people up and down the street shouting at each other.

"Police were called out on occasions. Cars would be in the car park with their music turned up loud, you would get loud voices then they would speed out of the driveway on their way out." The complainant adds she had suffered from loud fireworks and people arguing on her driveway.

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