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Norfolk manor house owner loses noise appeal

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 March 2010 | UPDATED: 08:54 02 July 2010

Residents have protested about noise at Surlingham Manor in the past

Residents have protested about noise at Surlingham Manor in the past

Sarah Hall

The owner of a Norfolk manor house which was issued with a noise abatement notice after complaints from villagers has lost a second appeal to have it overturned - and been ordered to pay £10,000 costs.

The owner of a Norfolk manor house which was issued with a noise abatement notice after complaints from villagers has lost a second appeal to have it overturned - and been ordered to pay £10,000 costs.

Nick Gooch, who has owned Surlingham Manor since 2004 and invested more than £300,000 in breathing new life into it, was served with the notice by South Norfolk Council in July 2008.

Some villagers had complained about loud music at weddings being held at a marquee in the grounds of the Grade II listed building and council officers issued the notice.

Mr Gooch challenged the order last year, saying his staff had been told that they were allowed to play until 11pm and had complied with the demands of environmental health officers.

But the appeal was dismissed by district judge Philip Browning, who said the council's notice was “reasonable” and there was “an unacceptable level of noise” from the manor.

Mr Gooch recently appealed against the district judge's decision, but Judge Peter Jacobs and two magistrates decided, after a two-day hearing, to dismiss the second appeal.

Mr Gooch was once again ordered to pay around £10,000 in costs to South Norfolk Council, but said the manor would still be used for weddings and other events - but without amplified music.

Following the court case he said he was disappointed to have lost, but said: “What we have decided to do is we will be able to hold events, weddings and anything else as long as there's no music which is amplified.

“We will be able to host upmarket weddings with harpists, orchestras and opera singers, but not allowed to have amplified music.

“We will be able to work with local pubs, businesses and food suppliers to provide a service.

“It has been a very expensive process for me and for the taxpayer and there were only a small number of people who raised objections.”

South Norfolk councillor Sue Thomson, who represents Surlingham, said: “We have now fought and won two appeals by Mr Gooch against the noise abatement notice, with the judges in both cases being clear that the noise from events at Surlingham Manor was unacceptable.

“We would now urge Mr Gooch to respect these two judgements, pay the council's costs and abide by the noise abatement notice. The residents of Surlingham have suffered enough. It would be unfair and unjust to continue.”

Peter Hiscocks, who lives in Bramerton Road, Surlingham, said: “Many villagers in Surlingham like myself will be delighted that this matter is now over.”

Do you have a story for the Evening News? Call reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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