How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Ash Your Own Question

Ash
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience:  Solicitor with 5+ years experience
75100385
Type Your Law Question Here...
Ash is online now

I run a cafe bar & live music venue that has a beautiful outside

Resolved Question:

I run a cafe bar & live music venue that has a beautiful outside patio for customers. We are in the centre of a busy town with several other lively late night establishments nearby. The problem I have is my patio is situated in between two buildings, which is also the only gap in buildings with a public footpath adjacent to my patio. All the town noise travels through the gap & indeed resonates and probably amifies too. I have one persistent resident complainant who believes all the noise is coming from my business & now has resulted in a EH calling in my licence for review. He wants the patio closed at 9pm; which will completely destroy my business as diners don't even finish that early & we wouldn't be able to use the outside seating for covers. I am only just scraping in at above break even & some of the noise control measures I have already taken (extra staff to act as patio stewards etc) are costly too. Please help, do I have any rights here to earn a living and we are in the centre of a busy town, surely there has to be some leeway with noise if you live in the town. I run a well-managed venue & have previously won Best Bar None awards & Best Licensee for the region; so I am a responsible operator.
Thank you,
Annie
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ash replied 2 years ago.
Alex Watts : Hello my name is ***** ***** I will help you with this.
Alex Watts : Are you saying the noise does not come from you please?
Customer:

Some of the noise definitely comes from my venue, but definitely not all of it. A lot of street noise travels through the break in the buildings.

Alex Watts : Have you had noise monitoring equipment installed please?
Customer:

Yes, I have noise monitoring equipment for the music, but that is not what the complaints are about. The resident complains about 'people' noise out on the patio and wants Environmental Health to make me shut it down at 9pm. The patio seats 70 people; it's a nice environment with tables and chairs and planting. We offer table service and many people sit outside to eat in the evenings.

Customer:

Hi, will this expert be back on line today?

Alex Watts : Have they monitored the noise outside please?
Customer: They have monitored noise from the residents house, which is approx 40 yds away & said it is sleep disturbing. But I don't believe all the noise is coming from my venue & they can't prove it is. There is a gap in the buildings which lead on to the Main Street & very busy street & entertainment area. My patio is in the gap.
Alex Watts :

Have you asked that equipment is installed in these places please?

Customer:

Where could they install equipment - it would need to be in the high street to be outside of my property? I have asked how do they know it's coming from my property alone and they just say they believe it is.

Customer:

I have to reply to a letter from environmental health today - can you give me any advice about being allowed to operate my business in the town and residents should be accepting of a greater level of noise if they live right within the entertainment area of the town? Is there any other precedent for this? I have put together a noise management plan but I know this one resident will not accept it and will insist on requesting that the patio is closed at 9pm - what recourse do I/will I have - any? It will completely destroy the business and I will have no alternative but to close and there will be the loss of 18 jobs.

Customer:

The noise levels are only greater on Friday and Saturday - I would not object to closing the patio at 11pm Sun - Thurs do you think I should offer this?

Alex Watts :

The Council has a duty under the Environmental Protection Act to investigate any noise or nuisance which is prejudicial to health, so that is why they are investigating

Alex Watts :

Whether any action is taken is another matter all together.

Alex Watts :

What you need is an expert for acoustics etc to see why there is the noise and where it is coming from

Alex Watts :

Once you have this expert report, the acoustics expert can also say where it is coming from, what noise is being generated by your site etc

Alex Watts :

That will give you a better idea of what you are coping with and indeed the expert can then provide the Council with detailed results.

Alex Watts :

Sadly you would have to pay for this report but it would support your case if indeed that is correct.

Alex Watts :

The expert can see how sound travels, where it is coming from and the true noise level from your property.

Alex Watts :

Can I clarify anything for you about this today please?

Customer:

Wouldn't Environmental Health have to do the same, regarding noise nuisance, ie determine exactly where it's coming from?

Alex Watts :

They have noise equipment installed on the property. If they suspect it is coming from yours then that could be an issue. Do they need to know 100% no.

Alex Watts :

But you dont want to be reactive, you should be pro active because of your business

Alex Watts :

I realise this is a cost but it is far better to be commercially ahead of any potential problems and head them off

Customer:

Also, is there any words to use about residents needing to accept an increased level of noise if they live in the town? The Council have actively identified this town as 'the going out' area of the Isle of Wight in regeneration plans and actively sought to attract eating, drinking and entertainment operators to the town.

Alex Watts :

Otherwise it may end up going to Court and then you are faced with legal costs and then defending your position

Alex Watts :

There will be a legal limit as to acceptable noise levels.

Alex Watts :

But this is prescribed by law.

Customer:

Hi

Customer:

Do you have any advice or help with what I should say in response to the environmental health letter, ie is there any precedent for residents near town centres to accept a higher level of ambient noise - are there are specific terms or examples I could use to have the right to operate the business.

Customer:

Do you know where to find the levels prescribed by law?

Alex Watts :

You have rated POOR SERVICE despite me giving you the legal answer and spending time with you

Alex Watts :

If this was a mistake I am happy to continue as I know I have done this myself before

Customer:

Hi

Customer:

I thought you would be able to give me advice to help with my response to the EH letter and give guidance about whether residents should accept an higher level of ambient noise in town centres. It is just one resident complaining and there are 100s around the area. Also, you said the noise levels are prescribed by law, where could I find these please?

Customer:

I know a Noise Consultants report will help with this but I needed to respond in writing - I have compiled a noise management plan but thought there would be other examples I could quote of things to do.

Alex Watts :

Forgive me, maybe I misunderstood your question. It read as "do I have any rights here to earn a living and we are in the centre of a busy town," It did not say anything about helping you with a letter or what the noise levels are? Did I miss that?

Alex Watts :

Are you able to respond so that I can assist you?

Customer:

Hi, Sorry, I thought you saw it but didn't respond to it. If you look back to yesterday at 10:07 I raised a couple of questions/issues there about the letter and whether you could help with terminology to answer.

Alex Watts :

"Best practical means" is a defence available to operators of an industrial, trade or business premises when faced with a noise nuisance complaint. Operators responsible for the noise have to prove that they have used all reasonable means to reduce or control the effect of the noise.

Alex Watts :

A musical instrument and any electrical amplified sound reproducing equipment

Alex Watts :

Prohibited times Monday to Thursday: before 7 am and after 10 pm.

Alex Watts :

Friday: before 7 am and after 11 pm.

Alex Watts :

Saturday and public holidays: before 9 am and after 11 pm.

Alex Watts :

Sunday: before 9 am and after 10 pm.

Alex Watts :

Therefore set out the position in terms of noise management, what you have been doing and the permitted hours

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

Customer: Yes, thanks, ***** ***** but that isn't the problem; he's complaining about people noise from my patio, not the music.
Alex Watts :

Please also see: http://www.elmbridge.gov.uk/envhealth/noise/pubsclubs.htm

Alex Watts :

Yes but it is coming from your premises

Alex Watts :

If it is not music etc they are complaining about and general chatter you have a better leg to stand on

Alex Watts :

The normal limit for dwellings is 34dba with underlying of 24dba

Alex Watts :

Clearly from a business the levels may be higher than this and the Council should be responsible in formulating a policy

Alex Watts :

You need to ask for sight of this so you can see what their policy is

Alex Watts :

But if licenced premises close at 11pm then its not unreasonable to expect noise until that time.

Alex Watts :

But really you need an expert report to show your true level and the background noise of the alley

Alex Watts :

Does that clarify?

Customer: Yes, thanks
Alex Watts : Thank you. If I could invite you to re rate my answer before you leave.
Alex Watts : If the system won't let you or you need more help please click reply
Ash, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 10915
Experience: Solicitor with 5+ years experience
Ash and other Law Specialists are ready to help you

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
< Previous | Next >
  • Thank you so much for your help. Your answers were really useful and came back so quickly. Great! Maggie
  • A quick response, a succinct and helpful answer in simple English. I believe I can now confront the counter party with confidence -- worth the 30 bucks! Rick
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C.
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Jo C.

    Jo C.

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    30316
    Over 5 years in practice
< Previous | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/EM/emus/2015-7-7_192327_bigstockportraitofconfidentfemale.64x64.jpg Jo C.'s Avatar

    Jo C.

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    30316
    Over 5 years in practice
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BE/benjones/2015-12-1_0437_ennew.64x64.jpg Ben Jones's Avatar

    Ben Jones

    UK Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    11553
    Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BU/Buachaill/2012-5-25_211156_barrister5.64x64.jpg Buachaill's Avatar

    Buachaill

    Barrister

    Satisfied Customers:

    1754
    Barrister 17 years experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/JO/jojobi/2013-3-19_0265_maxlowryphoto.64x64.jpg Max Lowry's Avatar

    Max Lowry

    Advocate

    Satisfied Customers:

    894
    LLB, 10 years post qualification experience
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/UK/UKLawyer/2012-4-12_9849_F2.64x64.jpg UK_Lawyer's Avatar

    UK_Lawyer

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    750
    I am a qualified solicitor and an expert in UK law.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KA/Kasare/kasare.64x64.jpg Kasare's Avatar

    Kasare

    Solicitor

    Satisfied Customers:

    402
    Solicitor, 10 yrs plus experience in civil litigation, employment and family law
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/OS/osh/2015-7-7_19268_gettyimagesb.64x64.jpg Joshua's Avatar

    Joshua

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8199
    LL.B (Hons), Higher Prof. Dip. Law & Practice