Karaoke noise complaints prompts fear Grade II pub could close

The Barley Mow Inn in Witnesham was issued with an abatement notice by East Suffolk District Council. 

The Barley Mow Inn in Witnesham was issued with an abatement notice by East Suffolk District Council. - Credit: Niall Austin/Google Street View

A Grade II listed pub near Ipswich is fearful it could close down after complaints about the noise of its Karaoke nights. 

The Barley Mow Inn, in Witnesham, is appealing a noise nuisance notice from East Suffolk District Council issued last month. 

Niall Austin, landlord of the pub, said he has not received enough information to comply with the East Suffolk notice, which asks him to stop using "amplified music". 

The abatement notice can mean noise has to be stopped altogether or limited to certain times of the day. Failure to do so could result in a licence being revoked or a fine of up to £20,000.

An East Suffolk District Council spokesman said the local authority "always" investigates noise complaints and is aware of the "current pressures" on local businesses. 

Mr Austin said; "It came out of the blue. 

In September they said we had to keep the noise down and we installed reinforced windows in the pub but we heard nothing until November 23 when we got the notice.

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"They should have come and warned us and told us what the limits should be."

Under the terms of the license the pub is allowed to play live or recorded until 12pm Monday to Thursday, 1am on Fridays and Saturdays and until 10.30pm on Sundays. The music must not cause a nuisance to nearby properties and doors and windows closed at 11.30pm.

Mr Austin claims to have followed this guidance and is "happy" to come to a compromise with the council. 

He said the nights aimed to create an inclusive space for the LGBT+ community and build a community in the small village. 

"We have no shop, all there is, is the pub," he added. "And these events attract people to the village, who do not want to go into Ipswich.

"We've never had police to the property. We do not want to upset neighbours and when we have put on these events people have been so happy.

"If we do not sell enough beer, we may not be able to keep going."

Suffolk police said there had been no involvement in relation to the complaints or abatement notice.

An East Suffolk District Council spokesman said; “If a noise, such as amplified music, is determined to have caused a nuisance, our officers have the power to serve an abatement notice to prevent any further reoccurrence.

"However, anyone served with a notice has the opportunity to appeal to the magistrates’ court within 21 days.”

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