Blues bar set to hit the right note
A CONTROVERSIAL blues bar looks set to get the go ahead in Bury St Edmunds.St Edmundsbury Borough Council's planning officers are urging members to back the scheme for Churchgate Street and tourism bosses and the town's chamber of commerce are behind the idea.
A CONTROVERSIAL blues bar looks set to get the go ahead in Bury St Edmunds.
St Edmundsbury Borough Council's planning officers are urging members to back the scheme for Churchgate Street and tourism bosses and the town's chamber of commerce are behind the idea.
Last year, planning officers gave the blues bar, which is the brainchild of Sarah Maris, their blessing only for the planning committee to reject the plan.
Mrs Maris said the blues bar would be a real asset to the town and slammed the reaction of residents as "incredible nimbyism".
She says the bar would be closed by midnight every night and the kind of clientele she is expecting to attract would bring no problems of anti-social behaviour to the area.
Mrs Maris said: "If you hear this kind of music as you're walking down the street it just gives you such a wonderful feeling of well being.
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"This would be the Ronnie Scotts of Bury. But the blues isn't loud. It's just fantastic music you can go and listen to and have a conversation at the same time. It would bring so much to Bury and to anyone who is over 30 and doesn't want to go to one of the night clubs."
She blasted the main reason for refusal last time, an unacceptably high level of noise and associated disturbance, as "incredibly tenuous" and is hoping the planning committee will back the scheme on Thursday.
However, Paul Farmer, one of the St Edmundsbury councillors for the area, insisted 72% of the area's buildings were residential and the blues bar would bring noise and disturbance.
"I don't think it's nimbyism at all. It has created a storm of protest and the reason for that is that residents are very concerned about it."
Elizabeth Godfrey, who lives in nearby Hatter Street and is a member of the Churchgate Area Association, said she had nothing against the form of music but is adamant the bar would be in the wrong place.
"This area is 70% residential and there is already a lot of disturbance. But the pubs, bars and restaurants close at 11pm and by 11.20 it's quiet.
"To cause disturbance people don't have to be rowdy, it can be laughing or the slamming of car doors. But a lot of people around here aren't old ladies like me - they work and want to be getting some sleep before midnight. The blues bar would just add to the problem too much and it should be turned down."
If the residents have their way it will probably end the blues bar dreams of Mrs Godfrey, as she fears the owner of the former restaurant she hoped to transform will sell up rather than wait for a possible appeal victory.
However, she insists she will go through with her appeal against the original refusal, which is currently going through the system, in a bid to win some compensation for the expense of putting forward the plans.