Norwich riverside bar to close after licence refused due to noise concerns
- Credit: The Weir/Archant
A riverside bar, which neighbours had said was creating "intolerable" noise, will have to close after it was refused a permanent licence.
The Weir, in Westwick Street, Norwich, had its application for the licence unanimously turned down by Norwich City Council's licensing committee.
Applicant Aidan Mahon said he was "surprised and disappointed" and said he was considering whether to appeal the decision.
Ian Stutely, chairman of the committee, said there was "considerable concern" about the public nuisance from noise which the applicant had not been able to "satisfactorily address".
The committee's decision on Tuesday (July 6) followed a six-hour licensing meeting on Thursday last week.
During that hearing, families living nearby said it would be an "entirely unacceptable nuisance" if The Weir were to be allowed to be permanent, having operated under temporary licences.
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There were some 60 objections to the proposal, many from people living in nearby Indigo Yard, Dyers Yard, The Moorings and Robert Gybson Way.
They said during the time the venue had been open during temporary licences, they had been subjected to noise.
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During the hearing, Mr Mahon acknowledged he had "got it wrong" with a previous venture called The Marquee, but said this one would not feature live bands and was a family-friendly venue.
Acoustic expert Ian Rees said his readings had not demonstrated the venue contributed greatly to existing noise, but neighbours said that had been done on a cold day, when the bar was not busy.
And, Mr Stutely, explaining the reasons for refusal, said: "The committee's decision to refuse the licence results from considerable concern regarding public nuisance, which the applicant was unable to satisfactorily address."
Mr Stutely said the acoustic expert's sound recording evidence was "noted and understood", but had been taken in "cold and wet weather conditions and were not reflective of an expected future operating context".
He said: "The committee has given weight to the lived experiences of residents and the noise nuisance they have and would have experienced, which is considered to be disproportionate and unreasonable, even in a city centre location.
"It is disappointing that the applicant's representative was felt to be repeatedly dismissive of residents' concerns, while it appears the applicant failed to communicate effectively with the community.
"Objectors represent wide-ranging political and demographic backgrounds across this community and it is extremely unusual for a licensing application to receive so many objections from residents, councillors past and present, other leading community figures and the local MP."
Jan Sheldon, chief executive of St Martin's Housing Trust, had raised concerns over the impact of having such a venue so near Highwater House - which houses vulnerable people with histories of mental health problems and addiction issues.
Norfolk police raised no objections, other than requesting a number of conditions.
Mr Mahon, who had sought a licence allowing the venue to open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between noon and 10pm, said afterwards: "We are really surprised and disappointed. I think I have been judged on the previous application, which I did hold up my hands to and said was wrong.
"We are going to review the decision and consider whether we could appeal."
The venue has already used up the number of temporary entertainments licences it was permitted, so will have to shut.
Martin Schmierer, Green city councillor for Mancroft ward, said: "This news will be welcomed by the local community. So many people living nearby conveyed their concerns to my Green Party colleagues and me that if this premise had been granted a licence, it would significantly and detrimentally impact on their quality of life.
"The fact that 60 or so people living nearby also contacted the council to outline their opposition to this application shows the strength of feeling locally.
"This is a lovely, largely residential part of the city, right by the river. I am glad it looks set to stay this way."