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  • Writer's picturePeter Rogers

The live music venue 'Night & Day, Manchester' can continue

Updated: May 8

Night & Day, Manchester concludes and this much loved live music venue can continue - effectively granting the first licence to cause a Statutory Nuisance

Yesterday, after 3 years the appeal against a Manchester City Council served a Noise Abatement Notice (NAN) on the venue District Judge McCormack handed down her ruling confirming a Statutory Nuisance was being caused, but also that the venue has a Best Practicable Means defence in place. Sustainable Acoustics Managing Director and expert witness Peter Rogers provided technical evidence to the court as the expert appointed by the venue, which formed the basis of the ruling to amend the notice in favour of the venue. It will now require nightclub-style amplified music by DJs on Friday and Saturday nights from 23:00 to operate to Test 1 settings. Find out more below.

Noise monitor at the mixing desk in the Night and Day venue. The image is taken from behind the mixing desk, and shows a room lit in red and blue, full of people partying. The atmosphere is electric.

Acoustic tests show the sound insulation to the flat next door to be poor, with a dip in performance at 250Hz. This was the core of the problem, and space constraints meant it was not possible to sound insulate further on either the residential side or the venue.

After monitoring over 30 events it was possible to define a robust acoustic baseline, and a reasonable restriction position was proposed as "Test 1", for which the profile levels are shown below for the mixing desk position. This would result in the constraint of 56% of events from the fully unrestricted level.

The image shows a table with 'Profile target levels (dB, Leq, 5mins)' as the left-most heading, and Octave band frequencies ranging from 31.5 to 4k Hz as the headings across the top of the table. The profile shows the following proposed 'dB, Leq, 5mins' limits: 107 at 31.5Hz, 105 at 63Hz, 98 at 125Hz, 88 at 250Hz, 102 at 500Hz, 104 at 1kHz, 96 at 2kHz, 87 at 4kHz, 106 dB(A), 110 dB(C)

The judgement requires that music from DJ club nights do not exceed this, over a 5-minute period. A compression-limiting device will be set up to ensure this is the case.

Key elements of the judgement were as follows:

  1. The ordinary use of the residential was decided to be residential and not the warehouse use it had been previously, for which the planning condition had not been properly discharged to ensure the proper acoustic protection was in place.

  2. The ordinary use of the venue was found to NOT include the nightclub use, despite its 30-year history.

  3. The locality in the Northern Quarter of Manchester famed for its late-night music venues, including the Hacienda, was a mixed-use location, constantly changing and for which the venue should adapt to.

  4. The Best Practicable Means (BPM) defence was NOT in place at the time the NAN was served, but it was judged to now be in place and form the basis of the amended NAN.

  5. The ruling effectively renders the residential (which is currently empty) as lawfully unusable, granting the venue the right to continue to cause a Statutory Nuisance.

  6. Agent of Change was not implemented in this situation, and this notice now effectively does this for the business, but leaves the resident high and dry, showing that Statutory Nuisance as a "safety net" has a massive hole in it called BPM. For more see the case study where the full judgement can be found.

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