Louder Than War Large

THE boss of a Holloway Road pub has backed calls for a new law which would protect live music venues against noise complaints from new residents.

The ridiculous way that a resident can move not a flat and shut down 30 year old venue is one of the stresses and strains of the modern city. many venues have fallen foul to the complaining residents who seem o want the thrill of living in city centres without any of the, er, thrills.

It’s what suburbs were invented for fools – just move!

Chris Furphy took on the Wig and Gown on Hollaway Rd in london three years ago, refurbished it and tried to appeal to the pre-gig crowd heading to the nearby Garage with the occasional gig and live DJ.

But rock fan Mr Furphy says the bar is “hanging on by the skin of its teeth” due to persistent complaints over noise from a resident which have forced the Wig and Gown to cancel live music nights and close early.

The same resident has even threatened to call the council over Arsenal fans singing songs on a matchday and Mr Furphy insists he has the support of all his neighbours but one.

“I’m woken up by the bells at St Mary Magdalene Church but I’ve got no right to tell them to stop that. They were here long before I was and will be long after I’m gone.”

Islington Council are duty bound to investigate any noise complaint but Mr Furphy says the noise limits imposed on the Wig and Gown make it barely viable.

“Never mind a rock bar here,” said Mr Furphy. “I couldn’t even run a jazz or folk bar. Even a spoken-word night would exceed these levels.”

Mr Furphy said he was encouraged by a recent Labour amendment to the Planning and Housing bill currently going through parliament aimed at saving grassroots music venues.

Under the agent of change principle, an apartment block to be built near an established live music venue would have to pay for sound­proofing and mitigate against any other potential problems.

Live music campaigners hope this will pave the way for rules which curtail the rights of residents to complain when they have only just moved in.

Mark Davyd, CEO of the Music Venue Trust, told the Tribune: “You wouldn’t move next door to a farm and complain about the chickens would you? It starts with music venues but the logical next step is people complaining about hearing too many football fans when they live next to the Emirates.

“We are not against residents having rights but the balance is out of whack at the moment. Councils don’t want to be seen to be saying publicly that residents have too many rights, but in private many licensing officers agree.”

Legislation would come too late for the Peoples Social Club a few doors down which was forced to close down last year after complaints, although they were about more than just noise.

More traditional pubs in Holloway Road have been struggling recently, with the former Lion pub set to be a Starbucks and The Bailey turning into a high-end fried chicken restaurant.

Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, Cllr Paul Convery, said: “Islington Council treats all noise complaints seriously and on a case-by-case basis.

“If we identify that a statutory nuisance exists, we are bound by law to require that it is addressed. We always do our best to resolve each complaint in a way that satisfies all parties involved.”

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