Turkish social club's opening hours cut after noise complaints

The licence was modified by councillors at The Guildhall this morning
The licence was modified by councillors at The Guildhall this morning

A Turkish social club in Northampton has had its licensing and opening hours reduced after noise complaints from neighbours.

Nearby residents had complained about smoking and litter as well in their representation, which called for a review of the club’s licence.

The club, in Henry Street, will now have to stop selling alcohol at 11pm from Sunday to Friday, and at midnight on Saturday, after Northampton Borough Council’s sub-licensing committee were satisfied that there had been noise issues. It had previously been able to sell booze until 2am daily.

Speaking at the hearing on Wednesday morning, neighbour Mark Atkinson said that the noise he and his partner Charlotte Ryan had to suffer was ‘unbearable’.

He said: “We have put polite notices through the door that tend to get ignored. There’s banging doors, shouting and generally being a nuisance at night. The noise is unbearable through the walls because we’re a terraced property.

“We both work 9-5 jobs and trying to sleep under those conditions is almost impossible, and it affects your day-to-day life.”

Asked by Councillor Sally Beardsworth when the noise occurred, he replied: “It’s loud until the early morning, and the noise tends to be towards the end of the week. Sunday night is a problem, and work nights too. We understand weekends, but not when you have work the next day.

“We thought a polite notice should be enough and that we shouldn’t have to come to a meeting like this, but it’s not happened.”

The panel also heard how when football was being shown on TV at the club, that it was ‘like being in the stand at the Cobblers’ for neighbours.

The social club was only granted a variation of its licence in September, which allowed it to operate a smoking area ahead of a proposed expansion that is currently in the planning process.

John Birch, speaking on behalf of the social club and its designated premises supervisor Cahit Menekse, said that there was a risk the hearing was a ‘rerun’ of the previous hearing.

He told the committee that the social club had been closed since June ahead of the planned expansion, and that the planning process might be a better forum in which for neighbours to raise their complaints, particularly with regards to smoking and litter.

He said: “These comments may be valid, but this is not the right forum to raise them in.

“I’m not diminishing the problem that exists, but it’s my job to separate the wheat from the chaff. And if this panel makes an unlawful decision on licensing policy, then it will go to appeal."

Councillor Graham Walker questioned why the club had not acted on the notices through the door from Mr Atkinson and Ms Ryan, saying: “It seems to me like no-one is really bothered?”

But Mr Birch responded: “We did say that we would establish a line of communication, but they have been closed for a long time. We are awaiting the decision on planning, and it’s not our intention to ignore them. That would be foolish and we would be back here every week.”

At the previous hearing in August, Mr Birch had said that the venue sold more Turkish tea than it did beer, and that the club was ‘a gathering place and the sale of alcohol is minimal and it’s not a loud night premises’.

But members of the sub-licensing committee decided to cut the licensing hours, as well as modifying the conditions so that the venue shuts 30 minutes after sales end.

The club was also ordered to soundproof some of its walls within the next 26 weeks, move the location of the TV away from an adjoining wall with neighbours, and to provide residents with contact details should they wish to make a complaint.