Mr Punch causes unrest in Southwold

THAT'S not the way to do it in Southwold, Mr Punch.It seems the antics of the pushy puppet have ruffled a few feathers in the genteel seaside resort, where Punch and Judy shows are a popular summer spectacle.

THAT'S not the way to do it in Southwold, Mr Punch.

It seems the antics of the pushy puppet have ruffled a few feathers in the genteel seaside resort, where Punch and Judy shows are a popular summer spectacle.

But it is not Mr Punch's rolling pin attacks which are upsetting residents – it is the "irritating" noise of the show.

A loudspeaker is now used by performer 'Professor' John Pulson as he entertains groups of holidaymakers near the new pier.


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But a 20-strong group of concerned local residents has signed a petition asking for the volume to be lowered.

Kathryn Assmann, 55, organised the petition after getting fed up with the sounds of the show reaching her house in Hotson Road – and it has now been sent to Southwold Town Council.

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She said: "I am not anti Punch and Judy. I am simply against the amplification and not against Mr Pulson. He uses a speaker attached to his booth and the sound travels from that into the neighbourhood.

"If you stand in front of the show you do not hear it there so much but because the sound travels from the speaker we do. I have asked him very amicably on a couple of occasions to lower the sound which he does but then it goes up again so everyone around here is fed up with it.

"I do not want to get rid of him as he is certainly very popular but we hear the irritating noise from it every day during the summer holidays and at most weekends throughout the year."

Her petition and letter was discussed by town councillors at a meeting this week and they decided to write to Waveney District Council, which grants licenses to performers on the promenade, asking Mr Pulson to perform his show facing the sea as opposed to towards homes.

Town Mayor Sue Allen said: "The general feeling was that we felt sorry for the residents. I have heard the noise myself while in other people's houses and it would drive me mad.

"People watch it once and then move off to go. We do not want to get rid of Punch and Judy because it's a lovely addition to the seaside at summer."

Emma Haughton, 41, is a frequent holidaymaker to Southwold from Lyme Regis and has four children who love Punch and Judy.

She said: "It would be a shame if it affects the performance and I hope they come to a compromise."

Mr Pulson, of Rendlesham, said he could not comment on the issue until he had heard from Waveney District Council.

But Wayne Burns, a former Punch and Judy man at Aldeburgh beach, said he was surprised by the problem.

He said: "It is nice to see one of the dwindling numbers of professional shows alive and kicking in such a fitting venue such as Southwold. I know John's show has proved very popular and hope the matter can be resolved so that Mr Punch can look forward to another successful season at Southwold in 2004."

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