Will noise complaints silence this iconic Northern Quarter venue?

Last-minute talks are being held over a Manchester music venue – with bosses due to appear in court again today – in a long-running row about noise.

Night & Day Cafe legal row

Night & Day Cafe has taken Manchester council to court over a legal notice served on the premises by the town hall more than 18 months ago.

The Northern Quarter venue has argued the move by the local authority to limit the level of noise it makes late at night threatens its future. The notice was served following a complaint by neighbours, who have now moved out.

Manchester Magistrates’ Court appeal

Manchester Magistrates’ Court heard an appeal of the noise abatement notice in November, but the final day of the hearing has been adjourned twice since. It comes after talks between both parties were held in a bid to settle the matter.

Talks broke down earlier this year. In March, the hearing continued in court, but after five hours of heated discussions, district judge Margaret McCormack adjourned the case again warning both sides were ‘going round in circles’.

It was agreed that extra noise testing would be carried out before the case returned to the court for a three-day hearing this week. However,  I Love Manchester understands that the last-minute talks are now being held again between the two parties at the town hall this morning (July 4).

It is understood that representatives from Manchester Council and Night and Day agreed to hold talks this morning following a case management hearing last week. Court staff have said the hearing is still set to go ahead at 2 pm.

Nevertheless, it is not yet clear whether the case will be heard in court today (July 4) as planned. Both parties in the case have been contacted for comment.

Night & Day Statement

In a post on social media last week, Night & Day (N&D) said: “More than 18 months ago Manchester City Council served a Noise Abatement Notice on us based on a single noise complaint from a resident. N&D has continued to operate in exactly the same manner during this period and exactly the same as it has done previously for over 30 years. The resident who complained moved out several months ago, and we’ve not received any further noise complaints.

“N&D maintains that 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.

“We head back to court next week for a three-day hearing, hopeful that this matter will finally be resolved and enable N&D to continue doing what it does best-putting on bands, nurturing culture and creativity, and putting smiles on the faces of the people that visit the venue.”

The Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman

In November, the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman said it would not investigate a complaint by the venue about the council’s planning actions in 2000 because of the ongoing appeal in the magistrate’s court. This means the matter is outside of the jurisdiction of the ombudsman, the report said.

Last week, a Manchester council spokesperson said: “Work is ongoing to reach an agreement on sound levels which both parties can agree on, and which would settle this case amicably. The council has sought throughout this process, for more than a year, to reach a solution with Night & Day which enables them to remain commercially viable while recognising the needs of residents and our legal obligations.

“We remain absolutely committed to this goal but with the latest court hearing pending it would not be appropriate for us to comment further on this specific case. The city’s music venues are an important part of the fabric of the city, playing a vital role in the night-time economy and in creating opportunities for new artists.

“Recently the Council announced a major and independent review into Manchester’s grassroots music venues and how the council and its partners can better support and champion them, while being considerate of residents and businesses and the council’s legal responsibilities.”

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