Dave Nightingale, Landlord of The Woolpack on North Street, Stanground, has insisted that he has won a moral victory in his court case with the city council and is now looking forward to a future of new cooperation with the authority, despite accepting a fine in court.
The pub was served with an abatement order last year over noise complaints relating to live music in their outdoor marquee. This forced Mr Nightingale to scale back his live music offering. He has, however, always maintained that the complaints are unjust and has spent in excess of £2500 installing his own equipment to monitor noise levels.
He also asked the council on several occasions for support in coming to a solution but says that he was left disappointed with the lack of response.
The case was heard in court on May 3, with Mr Nightingale asserting that he chose to plead guilty as he could no longer afford the expensive legal fees for his representatives. He was ordered to pay £800, a further £80 victim surcharge and costs awarded to the council of £2,000; totalling £2,880.
Mr Nightingale has said that he could have faced a fine of between £20,000 and £30,000 and sees the relatively low fine as vindication of his willingness to work with the council on the issue and the fact that he did not intend to break the abatement order.
In court, a number of statements were read out supporting the pub. Stanground South ward councillor Chris Harper, who is also the head of the council’s Planning and Environmental Protection Committee, was one of those that offered his support to Mr Nightingale.
In a separate Facebook comment about the issue, Cllr Harper praised the hard work of the Woolpack, stating: “Dave, the work you and your team put into the community throughout the pandemic was fantastic.”
Mr Nightingale is keen to move on from the past though and is looking forward to a new chapter of close working with the council and has officers visiting the premises to work towards a satisfactory solution for all concerned.
The pub continues to hold a music licence, is still allowed to hold live music events and plans to do so once a month. One of Peterborough’s most popular bands, The Contacts, will be performing next Thursday (June 2) as part of the pub’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
Dave said: “We have won a moral victory in court and it was recognised that we did everything we could to comply with the necessary rules but were left all on our own. I am pleased to see common sense has prevailed and the tiny fine shows that.
"I am keen to move forward though and I am happy that the council will be working with us closely in the future. The most important thing is that I have their support in helping to keep a small village pub open in the face of all of the these difficult times in the cost of living crisis.
"I would like to thank Councillor Harper for his words and the residents that have supported us. We are still allowed to host live music and I very much look forward to hosting The Contacts and many other local groups going forward.”