Noise Nuisance & the Arctic Monkeys
Posted in General on Sep 01, 2014
Whether it’s animals, arguments or music, noise nuisance can be a constant headache for whoever is unfortunate enough to be on the other side of the party-wall. However, what happens when a developer chooses to build next to noise that they already know is there?…
This issue has been thrust into the spotlight in recent weeks, thanks to a famous music venue in Manchester, which has played host to bands such as the Arctic Monkeys and Elbow. The Night & Day (which is located in Manchester’s Northern Quarter), has apparently been making the lives of one resident in a nearby block of flats ‚’a living nightmare’, due the music which is it is renowned for entertaining.
The resident said: “Nobody will understand that until you actually live in this flat and actually go through what we’ve gone through.
“It is hell. I’ve cried and screamed. It’s been very tough.”
The disruption to the resident’s life has been so great that it has led to them noise nuisance complaint being issued to Manchester Council; but the complaint has brought the wrath of the Manchester music scene down on the resident, who has seen the likes of Guy Garvey (Elbow) and Johnny Marr (The Smiths) signing an online petition in support of the venue which helped to launch their successful careers.
With more than 74,000 signatures pouring in to defend the Night & Day, things soon turned ugly for the resident who even received death threats for making their complaint to the council. This subsequently led to them leaving the block of flats.
Despite the exit, the episode stirred up a long standing issue of noise nuisance in the area as more and more residents came forward to support the original complainants view-point that the Night & Day was constantly exceeding noise-nuisance levels. This they claim, is largely due to club nights which the venue has been hosting.
“We’ve done what we do for over 20 years and nothing has changed,” stated the venue’s promoter Gareth Butterworth.
“There’s no new system. Nothing has been turned up or turned down. Why would we? Music too loud doesn’t sound good anyway.
“Venues are suffering up and down the country. Most of them are small businesses and they don’t really have the finances to fight this kind of thing, and they end up losing their business.”
The dispute played out on the pages of the National Media and has led to similar stories spilling out from small venues up and down the country.
A noise impact assessment has shown that noise in the flats nearby is likely due to inadequate sound-proofing when the premises were built over a decade ago. This has reignited a question that has been a hot topic within the acoustic consultant and building industries for a long time: who should be responsible for the noise when residents willingly move near to a pre-existing noise source?
The Music Venue Trust wants Britain to adopt an ‘agent of change’ policy, such as recently been put into place in Melbourne, Australia. In this model, it is the responsibility of whichever party changes the status quo of current noise environment to ensure that sound-proofing needs of noise-sensitive receptors are met.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (who govern noise legislation) have so far resisted a review of the current law within the United Kingdom.
Some critics have argued that suitable measures are already in place and noise nuisance complaints could be avoided, if only proper building regulations were enforced and adequate sound-proofing ensured in the first instance.
This is a sentiment which is echoed by managing director of the Noise Abatement Society, Lisa Lavia: “The answer isn’t to change the noise legislation. The problem is the issue of venues being next to residences, or dwellings being built against venues.
“This goes back to putting stricter requirements on the developer at the planning stage. The culprit isn’t the resident or the venue, the culprit is how noise pollution is being managed.’ she added.
Experts have also acknowledged that noise nuisance complaints can arise from both residential noise surveys and entertainment noise surveys; in order to avoid such complaints and adhere to building regulations, it is imperative to get an acoustic consultant involved with your project as soon as possible.