Pub fined after noise complaints

THE noise coming from a pub was so loud a shelf in a nearby home was "clearly vibrating", a court heard.Mid Suffolk District Council area environmental health officer Eric Foxton visited a home in Deben Rise, Debenham, at around 9pm on August 10, 2003, after receiving a complaint about the level of noise from the Cherry Tree pub, where music was being played.

THE noise coming from a pub was so loud a shelf in a nearby home was "clearly vibrating", a court heard.

Mid Suffolk District Council area environmental health officer Eric Foxton visited a home in Deben Rise, Debenham, at around 9pm on August 10, 2003, after receiving a complaint about the level of noise from the Cherry Tree pub, where music was being played.

He told Bury St Edmunds magistrates court that the noise was "very loud" and he was particularly conscious of the sound of the bass beat on the warm summer's evening.

"There was one shelf over one side of the house which was clearly vibrating," he told the court at a hearing yesterday


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"In my opinion the level of noise was a nuisance and it was taking away from that family the ability to enjoy their property."

Magistrates decided there had been a breach of a noise abatement notice, and fined licensee Zoe Hearn £5,000 and ordered her to pay prosecution costs of £3,548 in her absence after hearing evidence from Mr Foxton and householder John Bridges.

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Ms Hearn did not attend court for the trial yesterday, and her defence barrister Helen Booth said she was unable to represent her in court and was "duty-bound to withdraw" since she did not have a signed statement from her client, who she understood was abroad, and had not met with her to take her instructions.

Mr Foxton told the court that he set up noise monitoring equipment in Mr Bridges' garden during an event at the pub in August 2002. Over two five-minute periods he found the noise reached up to 81 decibels and measured around 60 decibels as a continuous sound pressure level. This roughly equated to the noise of passing traffic when standing by the roadside, he said.

The noise abatement notice was issued in October 2002.

"Initially it was mainly the noise from music from either live bands, discos or other amplified music for the entertainment of pub customers," explained Mr Foxton.

The court heard that doors and windows were left open causing noise problems. The council wrote to Ms Hearn on various occasions reminding her the notice was in place.

Nicola Swan, prosecuting, said it was "very, very unusual for a case to reach this far".

Mr Bridges described how he began experiencing noise problems in around April 2002.

He recalled hearing children in the pub garden about 30m from his window "screaming at the top of their voices" at around 10pm at night.

He decided to make a formal complaint to the council about the noise levels because he "could not go on like that", he explained.

"You just could not enjoy your own house," he said.

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