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Bristol venue Thekla under threat from new residential development

By | Published on Tuesday 7 November 2017

Save Thekla

Boat-based Bristol music venue Thekla is under threat of closure due to a planning application to build a new residential development nearby. Yeah, that old chestnut.

According to the Bristol Post, planning officers attended the venue this weekend to assess noise levels, ahead of a planning committee meeting on Wednesday to make a decision on the property developer’s application. Thekla owner DHP Family has described the noise assessment as “woefully inadequate”.

DHP, along with the Music Venue Trust and UK Music, are now mobilising to attempt to save the venue from closure. MVT’s Mark Davyd says of the threat to its future: “Sensible and adequately planned residential developments near to grassroots music venues like the Thekla mean that residents and music lovers can happily co-exist. That outcome starts at the planning application stage when a good developer recognises the cultural value of the existing music venue and takes steps to protect it”.

He continues: “Recognising the existence of an iconic music venue like Thekla starts with a thorough environmental impact study that specifically understands the noise in the area. Properly understanding noise and activity results in great design for any refurbishment or new building, ensuring noise is managed and controlled, and in commitments such as ‘deed of easement’ and accurate marketing to future residents”.

The concern in this case, he adds, is that this process has not yet been started, despite the late stage of the planning application.

And, yes, I know what you’re thinking, unlike most venues, Thekla has the advantage of being moveable. Why doesn’t it just float off somewhere else? Addressing this on Twitter yesterday, the venue said: “Unfortunately we can’t just move the ship as they’re aren’t any permanent moorings large [enough] and, if there were, they would likely be close to existing residences”.

See, they’re not willing to just rock up at a random location and ruin things for people already established there. Take note, property developers. Talking of which, developer Aspect360 has not yet commented.