Stonham Aspal: Bid to double Stonham Barn’s capacity to 10,000 people is halted after council is bombarded by noise complaints

Stonham Barns hosts several events each year, attracting thousands of people

Stonham Barns hosts several events each year, attracting thousands of people - Credit:

Bosses at a tourist attraction have had their ambitious plans to double its capacity scuppered after a council listened to dozens of complaints.

Stonham Barns, based in Stonham Aspal, near Stowmarket, had wanted to extend the numbers of visitors who can attend its outdoor events from 5,000-to-10,000 all year round.

But this, as well as plans to sell alcohol up until 11.30pm at night, provoked a strong response in the community.

A Mid Suffolk District Council licensing committee decided to restrict the maximum attendance to 7,500 – and this can only be for two events where audience numbers are more than 5,000.

No-one from Stonham Barns was available to comment on the decision.

Councillors were aware the council has had a “history of noise complaints” against the retail and leisure complex going back to 2009, according to a Mid Suffolk environmental protection officer.

Ray Melvin, chairman of the committee, said: “The panel spent a considerable amount of time both at the hearing and later considering this matter. We heard from a large number of interested local parties concerning this application and took due note of all their comments.

“The previous and existing license on these premises would have needed considerable alteration to address these and other concerns.

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“The result of the decision made, restricted the hours of operation, the maximum numbers permitted and number of times large attendances are allowed.

“In addition the new license puts into force substantial obligations addressing the objectives of licensing authorities.”

Stonham Barns had wanted to be able to sell alcohol between 9am-11pm Sunday to Thursday and 9am-11.30pm Friday and Saturday.

But the committee decided to restrict this on Fridays and Saturdays to as late as 11pm.

Stonham Aspal Parish Council had objected to the proposal, arguing the village would be “swamped” and community life would be “unrecognisable” if the plans went ahead.

None of their councillors were available to comment, but the parish clerk, Alison Green, said the decision was due to be discussed at their next meeting on Tuesday.

Stonham Barns can formally appeal the decision if it wishes.