'We are not trying to kill this business': Residents speak out as councillors deliberate alcohol licence for rooftop bar in Northampton

Bar owner instructs report from noise and sound expert following neighbours concerns in St James

Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 12:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 4th May 2021, 1:00 pm
The Northampton area licensing sub-committee of the council considered the application at a meeting on Thursday (April 29) and will make its decision within five working days.

A decision on whether a bar in Northampton will be granted a licence to allow it serve alcohol on a roof terrace area is now being deliberated by councillors following a licensing meeting.

The application for Jimmy's Sports Bar in Harlestone Road seeks to vary the premises licence by licensing for the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises on the roof terrace area.

Six letters of objection were sent to West Northamptonshire Council raising concerns about potential noise and disruption.The Northampton area licensing sub-committee of the council considered the application at a meeting on Thursday (April 29) and will make its decision within five working days.

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A report to the committee states the variation proposal is to the licence for sale of alcohol for consumption (on the premises) at roof terrace bar Monday-Thursday 11.00-23.00, Friday 11.00-01.00, Saturday 10.00-01.00 and Sunday 10.00-22.30.

It stated: 'It is pertinent to mention at this stage, due to the nature of the objections received, that by licensing the roof terrace bar for the sale of alcohol, some deregulation of the Licensing Act 2003 would allow for live and recorded music to be played on the roof terrace bar during any of the times the bar was open for the sale of alcohol.

'However, this deregulation is restricted to between the hours of 08.00hrs -23.00hrs and for audiences of less than 500. This is clearly relevant to the licensing objective of The Prevention of Public Nuisance which all objections received relate to. '

Solicitor Tim Vaughan, speaking on behalf of the applicant Harry Barnes, stated that Mr Barnes had obtained a report from Mike Randall a noise and sound expert.

Mr Vaughan said:"If I could address the committee on the main thrust of the objections which is excess noise.

"What we do say, is that any risk is manageable by conditions. Having had the opportunity of reading both the initial report of Mr Randall and his updating report, as you can see, he has confirmed that his recommendations, as to the screening, have been fully implemented.

"I hope that much is clear from the photographs.They are high walls which have a considerable effect on decibel measurements in the street at the back and in the vicinity."

Mr Vaughan then said the following two conditions stated in the report, were agreeable.

"Notices shall be prominently displayed at any area used for smoking requesting patrons to respect the needs of local residents and use the area quietly.

"A direct telephone number for the manager/ designated premises supervisor at the premises shall be publicly available at all times the premises is open. This telephone number is to be made available to residents and businesses in the vicinity.

"The two manifestly important conditions which you may wish to consider are those alluded to by Mr Randall in his report. If I can read it out; The next two steps of advised mitigation can now be implemented.

"Firstly music system loudspeakers can be relocated to positions on the roof terrace side of the screen typically 1.5metres below the top level of the screen. That was a problem he had when he first inspected, nor were the screens high enough.

"With the loudspeakers relocated and without the roof terrace in operation, a sound limiting device fitted to the music system can be set at a fixed operating limit, witnessed by NBC environmental health, to allow the sound system to provide background music to the patrons of the roof terrace area without impacting adversely on the nearby residential locations.

"We suggest that two noise measurement locations in the corner of Althorp Road and Orchard Street are used as listening positions when setting the music system noise limiter."

Mr Vaughan said Mr Randall had taken test readings on each of those corners and he was convinced the mitigation of noise produced by these conditions would be quite satisfactory.

Mrs Pamela Williams, representing residents, said: "I don't think the residents are objecting to say not have any music, but it's very much a timescale because you know we do go to bed round here at certain times. We are not all up to 11 or one o'clock at night.

"We are not trying to kill this business, because we are used to this business. That bar has been there many, many years. We're used to people coming out late at night. We've accepted that, we've lived with that round here because it's been done for many years.

"We are really not trying to close down this business but in all fairness I don't know if any of you have had a bad neighbour, but it's that noisy you can't go to bed at night and sleep.

"And this is what we are frightened of. We are hoping that Mr Barnes is listening to us and it sounds like he is trying to I will give him his due."