Peterborough landlord ‘devastated’ after being forced to cut back live music following council order

A Peterborough landlord has been left ‘devastated’ after being forced to scale back his live music offering after a notice from the council.

By Ben Jones
Monday, 2nd August 2021, 4:59 am
The Woolpack, Stanground.

Dave Nightingale, who is the landlord of The Woolpack on North Street, Stanground, has been fighting an ongoing battle with Peterborough City Council over what he believes are unjust noise complaints.

The pub was served with an abatement order in May, which required the excess noise to either cease or further legal action would be taken.

Following this, Dave has collected his own evidence, at the cost of over £2500, that he believes shows that the music from the pub’s live bands are not too loud and has received significant support from neighbours.

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The Woolpack's beer garden.

He has also been critical of the council for their lack of support and their failure to set specific guidelines for the noise levels to meet.

As part of the changes, the stage has been rotated and the music turned right down, with neighbours as close as three doors away getting in touch to say that they can’t hear the music when it is on.

Over 1400 people have signed an online petition to ‘save live music’ at the pub and locals have also been showing their support by donating online and in-person at the bar.

Dave is looking to challenge the council’s rulings in court in September but in the meantime has received another letter about the issue; stating the possibility that the pub could lose its licence if the noise persists.

For this reason, the decision has been taken to scale the live music offering to just two nights a month until the appeal is heard.

The decision has been extra devastating as that has meant seven members of staff have had to be laid off.

Dave said: “It is with a heavy heart that we have decided after yet another letter from the Council that we will be reducing our live music nights to just two per month, until we have had our appeal heard.

“We really have tried to save our weekly live music nights, by moving the stage, sound proofing the stage floor, have bands playing with un-mic’d drums, reducing the times we have live music by starting earlier and finishing earlier, but without anyone being able to give any clear direction we are being forced to make this change and hope it has a positive affect.

“We will be continuing with DJ’s on a Sunday afternoon (2pm-7pm) as these have been found to either be at a very low level or inaudible outside up and down the street by a certified acoustician which we’ve engaged with at our own cost, and therefore again without any meaningful guidance we have made the decision to carry on with them.

“It’s heartbreaking to have to do it, especially when we have the overwhelming majority of the local people on our side. That’s what we’re about, we are a community pub, we are here to bring the community together. We’ve been closed for 14 months and now we’re doing all we can, without any guidance from the council.

“I’m devastated, especially since I’ve worked so hard to help others with their own noise complaints. I helped Damian (Wawrzyniak) from House of Feasts sort out all of his issues, who like us had complaints about noise made against him.

“We think we have a good case but in court I could be set to lose £20,000, which is money I don’t have but this is a community pub and we will do everything we can to save this wonderful little pub that we all love.”

In May, the council said that it has a duty of care to protect residents against excess noise and that complaints of this nature were investigated thoroughly, resulting in an abatement notice.

Speaking about the situation this week, a council spokesperson, said: “We’re investigating the Woolpack for their breach of the noise abatement notice and as this matter is now subject to a criminal investigation it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

The Woolpack’s two live music events next month will be on August 14 (Children of the Revolution and August 29 (The Contacts), with tickets priced at £5 and £10 per head respectively. Bookings can be made by calling 01733 753544.