Blind Tiger Club was ‘noisiest officer had ever encountered’

Posted On 19 Mar 2015 at 1:35 pm

A Brighton live music venue which shut down after being served a noise abatement notice was one of the noisiest a council officer had ever encountered.

Blind Tiger Club. Image taken from Google Streetview

Blind Tiger Club. Image taken from Google Streetview

The Blind Tiger Club closed down last year after saying the notice effectively stopped it operating as a live music venue as the cost of soundproofing works were beyond its means.

But the council has this week hit back at suggestions it forced the venue’s closure in response to a petition signed by thousands of people asking for more protection against neighbours moving next door to live venues then complaining.

And it has rebutted claims the notice was served in response to just one neighbour’s complaint, saying it had been contacted by people living in three nearby streets.

The chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s licensing committee, Councillor Stephanie Powell, said: “Brighton and Hove has more music venues than virtually any other similar sized town or city in the UK.

“The music scene here is thriving and is frequently referenced by national radio DJs such as Craig Charles.

“Live music is a vital part of our cultural and tourism offer, and as such is an important part of the city’s economy.

“Our licensing policy specifically encourages live music, while safeguarding the right of our residents for privacy and family life as required by national law.

“We completely reject any claim that we ‘effectively gave a ban on playing music’ or forced the closure of the Blind Tiger. The venue was simply required to follow the same rules as all the many other venues in the city.

“We supported the live music operation of the Blind Tiger for many years because it fitted well with the commitment stated in our licensing policy to support live music.

“Its decision to cease trading was taken by the management of the venue. We did not force its closure.

“At the time it ceased trading, the Blind Tiger still possessed a licence, was still allowed to stage live music, was still allowed to play recorded music, and was still allowed to sell alcohol.

“Our environmental health team was forced to serve a noise abatement notice on the venue for persistent noise nuisance. Failure to do so would have left us in breach of our legal duties.

“The notice followed complaints from residents in three nearby streets. An experienced council officer monitoring one property reported the worst noise nuisance they had ever encountered.

“The noise abatement notice only prevented emitting noise of a level that interfered with the personal comfort of neighbours.”

  1. Brian Warren Reply

    Why has it taken almost a year for the council to say this? The Blind Tiger closed in May 2014. A faster response might have been helpful.

  2. Mat Cook Reply

    Brighton’s music scene is not as thriving as it once regardless of whether Craig Charles says so or not…interestingly enough he has fallen out with the Concorde 2 – one of very reputable venues left in Brighton.

    I would suggest that Councillor Stephanie Powel does not really have much of an understanding of what an accessible, independent venue with it’s finger on the pulse actually looks like.

    The noise abatement law has seen the end of not just the Tiger, but also the Pressure Point, and the Free Butt, with all of those venues having been operating long before the complaints moved near to these venues and complained. And it’s not just venues…the Druids Arms next to the Level is now under threat from residents that have just moved into the newly built flats attached to the open market. The beer garden is now shut by 10pm. The bench outside the pub has been removed, and the management are consistently having take noise readings to ensure that they cover themselves from more complaints.

    A venue or building with significant cultural importance that has precedence in terms of how long it has been there (who was there first), should be protected from the noise abatement law (originally brought in to deal with nuisance neighbors and industrial noise). The law needs amending.

    with more than one venue being shut down due this the noise abatement law is shutting venues across the country when it was originally intended to deal with nuisance neighbors and industrial noise

  3. Jo Wadsworth Reply

    Hi Brian,

    The council did respond to the venue’s accusations at the time, but didn’t mention the high readings. This was sent to me in a statement today in response to the story about the petition which is linked to in the third paragraph – I understand they are countering the persistent claims they forced the venue to shut.

  4. james Reply

    After reading this I can see the blind tigers previous statements still appear just, and council are being disingenuous in order to win more public support.

    “An experienced council officer monitoring one property reported the worst noise nuisance they had ever encountered.

    Its a strong assumption that this “one property” mentioned could only be from the person who moved in directly above the blind tigers stage, in which case no wonder its the worst nuisance ever. Thats why no sane person wouldn’t move there in the first place.

    “The noise abatement notice only prevented emitting noise of a level that interfered with the personal comfort of neighbours.”

    This means soundproofing for a neighbour that is metres away from the sound source. Without massive funds for rebuilding much of the old building this was impossible. The council may not have taken the licence away but its noise enforcement notice meant it was impossible to operate a music venue, hence the closure.

    What is new are the complaints from three nearby streets. However, the council offers no insight on these. Choosing instead to use these complaints and covertly bundle them with one from the tenant that moved in above the stage a live music venues appears, to me, to create disingenuous image of the worst noise nuisance in Brighton.

  5. Robin D Rich Reply

    …and of course the proposed development of that particular area of town has nothing to do with it at all.

  6. Thomas McNulty Reply

    Lets turn Brighton into Eastbourne Mark II
    and still there would be some greyed out complaining creature, dribbling about the noise pollution of mobility scooters.

  7. Joe Stevens Reply

    People usually move to Brighton for the vibrancy of the place.
    If the local authorities keep trying to shut down the vibrancy, they’ll be no one left to sing “ghost town”

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