Northamptonshire social club survives hearing over noise complaint

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Towcester Sports and Social Club is claiming victory in a dispute over noise in the evenings.

The club, in Swinneyford Road, was faced with a noise abatement order and then a review of its licence on Monday this week after one neighbour complained about noise late at night.

Club secretary Jeff Abel said: “We got told of the complaint in April last year. We got a noise abatement order, but we did breach it.

“The complaint came from someone who had moved into a house near the club in the past few years.”

The sports and social club opened in 1968 at the same time that it moved into its current building.

The club was set up by the founding members in 1966 when they used to meet in various pubs around the town. But two years later the club – Towcester Working Men’s Club – got its own building in Swinneyford Road. At that time the road was the edge of urban Towcester and was surrounded by fields so there were no neighbours that noise from the club’s building could reach.

Mr Abel said: “Some members thought the council was trying to close the club down, but it was only ever an issue about noise at certain times of the day and nothing to do with anything else we do at the club.

“We took a lot of steps to try and cut down on noise. We replaced the old fire doors with new triple-glazed ones, we installed soundproofing around part of the stage, and we put in a noise monitoring box which allows us to check exactly how loud we are being.

“Before the hearing on Monday, South Northants Council came and put up notices asking people to have their say, either way, on the issue.

“In the end about 20 members wrote to the council, many of whom also live in the same road as the complainant, and they had positive things to say about the situation.

“They were also allowed to go along to the hearing to watch the proceedings too.

“The hearing went pretty well, I think.

“Our licence allows us to open from 10am to 2am, but we rarely use all the 16 hours. Normally we stop at 11pm on weekdays and midnight at the weekend.

“In the end the councillors decided that entertainment should stop at 11.30pm every night. That’s pretty much what we do anyway.”