A hearing at Guildford Borough Council on Friday 19 September has meant that new conditions have been applied to the premises licence of Guildford’s premiere alternative music venue, The Boileroom. The conditions allow the venue to stay open, but include closing the venue’s garden 30 minutes earlier than at present and reducing the decibel level at which the noise limiter is set.
The venue is located in Stoke Fields, which is predominantly a residential area and will be celebrating eight years of business this Saturday, but has recently received several complaints from some of its neighbours. A license review was submitted to the Council, claiming the venue had breached its license in four areas; the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm.
However, The Boileroom fiercely denied these claims and fought back by starting an online petition entitled ‘Save the Boileroom from Closure’. The petition proved incredibly popular with local residents and celebrities alike as signatures topped 18,000 and included the likes of Ed Sheeran and Paul Weller.
The Licensing Authority received 458 representations from the public during the consultation period, with 14 fully or partially supporting the review. Overwhelmingly, the other 444 representations were in support of the premises, showing just how much the venue had the backing of its supporters.
At the beginning of the hearing, The Boileroom offered up five licensing amendments to the Guildford Borough Council to show willingness and as a gesture of goodwill. These amendments were outlined to reach a suitable outcome for everyone involved and we are pleased to announce that an amicable agreement has been met.
The draft conditions that The Boileroom proposed are as follows:
- That Section 177a of the Licensing Act shall not apply and therefore all conditions in relation to live music shall apply at all times.
- The noise limiter level shall be set 2 dB lower than currently, or at such a lower level, as agreed by Environmental Health Officers having tested for live and recorded music.
- That when the capacity in the garden reaches the following levels, the following shall apply: a. Less than 50 people, then regular patrols should be carried out of the garden every 15 minutes, b. 50 or more people, one Marshall wearing a high visibility jacket shall be present to prevent noise and anti-social behaviour, c. 100 or more people, two Marshalls wearing high visibility jackets shall be present to prevent noise and anti-social behaviour
- That the dB level of recorded music shall be reduced to a level to be agreed by Environmental Health Officers for the 30 minutes prior to the closing time of the premises, with a view to reducing noise due to the dispersal of patrons
- Amendment to the current Condition 26 of the Licence to read as follows: Customers shall not be permitted to use any external part of the premises, e.g. outside drinking areas, for any purposes after 22.30 hours Monday to Thursday, 23.00 hours Friday and Saturday and 22.00 hours on Sunday except for access to and from the premises.
Cllr Paul Spooner, Lead Councillor for Licensing and Governance said, “The Licensing Sub-Committee carefully considered the evidence regarding the case for review. The Council has a legal duty as the licensing authority to ensure that the licensing objectives are met. The new conditions have been set to address the concerns raised.”
The Boileroom also released this official statement, “We have been overwhelmed with the support that we have received since we announced our review earlier this year. We maintain we have a good relationship with the majority of our neighbours, and those that we don’t we will continue to try and build bridges. Our family run venue was opened in 2006, and is managed by a collective of people who believe the venue provides a much needed creative space for the local community; encouraging and supporting local bands and nurturing upcoming talent. We have always taken our licensing conditions very seriously and we will continue to update and improve our soundproofing and management of events. The venue would like to thank everyone that wrote a representation, those that attended the hearing and those that spoke in support of the venue at the hearing. Moving forward we would encourage supporters of the venue to show humility and respect to our neighbours at this time.”
Here at This is Our Town Guildford, we fully support The Boileroom as a music venue and community hub and believe it is essential that we continue to support independent venues and nurture local up and coming talent. We would also like our readers to respect the lives of those local residents affected by this by keeping noise levels to a minimum surrounding the venue so that it can continue to stay open and provide entertainment for years to come.