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Night & Day noise abatement dispute unresolved as more acoustic testing planned for September

By | Published on Tuesday 25 July 2023

Night & Day

A spokesperson for Manchester venue Night & Day has told reporters that it “feels like we’re going backwards over old ground” after it was confirmed that further acoustic testing will now take place in relation to its appeal of a noise abatement order.

The next round of testing will occur on 3 Sep, meaning the venue’s bid to have that noise abatement order revoked will now rumble on into the autumn and possibly even next year.

The venue’s management had hoped that a scheduled court hearing earlier this month would resolve the matter, saying in a post on Facebook at the end of June that the venue rather focus on “what it does best – putting on bands, nurturing culture and creativity, and putting smiles on the faces of the people that visit the venue”.

Manchester City Council issued a noise abatement order against Night & Day in 2021, based on a complaint made by a resident who moved into a property next to the venue during the COVID lockdowns.

Night & Day argues that complying with the order would force a significant change to its late night operations making the wider business commercially unviable. And, of course, the order is seeking to alter operations that have been underway at the venue for decades.

Not only that, but – as the venue explained in that Facebook post late last month – “the source of this problem is that no acoustic consideration was given during the planning and development stages of the apartments next to the pre-existing venue N&D. This is confirmed within the apartments planning file held today at MCC Planning Portal”.

The dispute initially got to the magistrate’s court in Manchester last November. At a subsequent hearing in March the case was adjourned so that further acoustic testing could be conducted to assess noise levels at the venue.

Another court hearing was then scheduled for the first week of this month, ahead of which Night & Day published its statement expressing a hope that that would resolve the matter once and for all. But that didn’t happen, with the hearing first postponed to allow further out of court discussions between the venue and the council, and then hindered by technical problems with a video link.

As a result, things were rescheduled for a hearing on Friday last week. Though there were already reports that the Council wanted to undertake more acoustic testing, which suggested last week’s hearing wasn’t going to progress things all that much. And it didn’t.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, it was agreed during the court session that further testing will now take place on 3 Sep, after which the venue and the council will again see if they can reach a settlement regarding noise levels. If that doesn’t happen, the dispute will then return to court next year.

A spokesperson for Night & Day told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the venue’s management had now attended many meetings with council officials which they had approached “with a positive and constructive manner”. However, “unfortunately, the council has asked for yet another round of acoustic testing. It feels like we’re going backwards over old ground”.

“We don’t understand why testing didn’t happen during the planning stage 20 years ago before anyone moved into the apartments”, they added, “and why there was no discussion with MMC before the abatement notice was served on us in 2021”.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the council said: “We remain entirely committed to reaching an agreement that recognises the needs of residents, allows us to meet our legal obligations and allows the venue to remain commercially viable”.