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‘It will really affect us’ - Norwich pub postpones music events amid noise complaints

The Belle Vue pub in Norwich.  Picture: ANTONY KELLY

The Belle Vue pub in Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2015

A Norwich pub has postponed events after noise complaints saw it only able to play acoustic music.

Phil Cutter at the Murderers. Photo: Steve AdamsPhil Cutter at the Murderers. Photo: Steve Adams

The Belle Vue pub, on St Philips Road, was told by police it could not play amplified music until it had met Norwich City Council licencing officers amid concerns from people living in the area.

Landlord Harry Cawley, who has been at the pub since the start of July, said they were hoping it was a one-off complaint, and that the issue would be resolved quickly.

“We have had a few complaints but this is the first one that’s been taken to the council,” he said. “It does really affect pub business. It will affect us if we can’t have music on at the weekends as that’s where we make our money.

“We understand the concerns, but pubs have to do things to get people through the door.”

Noise complaints are often a sore point for pubs - while events and live music can be key to income, the needs of the local community are often as important.

Phil Cutter, landlord at the Murderers in Norwich city centre, said: “If it affects people’s quality of life it’s important to listen to local residents.

MORE: ‘Paid myself nothing and lost £330’ - call to back music venues as Norwich bar owner sets out ‘unsustainable’ costs

“When we first started having live music we went beyond 12am and we had a phone call from someone saying they needed to go to work the next day. From that moment we have always stopped it at 11pm. What complicates it is that it really is subjective - just because you think something’s acceptable doesn’t mean others will.”

Another landlord on the edge of Norwich, speaking anonymously, said they had constant difficulties with locals over music nights, which had seen them reconsider hosting them.

“Live music is really important to us,” they said, “but we have had complaints and it does make it difficult. We don’t make loads of money off them anyway, and sometimes you question whether it’s worth it.”

In 2016, new development laws gave greater protection to live music venues, with developers obliged to take existing licensed premises into account before getting plans approved, but it doesn’t affect those moving into already-built properties near pubs.

Norwich City Council agreed it was a balancing act. Its policy on the evening economy aims to “protect the amenity of surrounding occupants and the vitality and viability of the area generally”.

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