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Manchester music venue due back in court to appeal noise abatement notice

Much-loved Manchester music venue Night & Day will be back in court this week appealing against a noise abatement notice brought by an adjacent flat.

The owner of the bar, a fixture of the city’s Northern Quarter for 30 years, is taking Manchester city council (MCC) to court in the hope it will drop the notice served 18 months ago.

Jennifer Smithson, who inherited the business from her father, Jan Oldenberg, said if the notice is not repealed after the two-day hearing at Manchester magistrates court which begins on Tuesday, then Night & Day could be at risk of closure.

Though the noise ban only affects DJ sets after hours, not live bands before midnight, Smithson said these club nights were key to the bar’s financial survival.

She said she was surprised and disappointed that the council has refused to take responsibility for the root cause of the problem of flats being built near existing music venues with no soundproofing.

In the 1990s the bar had no neighbours but in 2000 a nearby warehouse was turned into flats. The development was contingent on a “study of noise within the vicinity of the building” but this appears to have never happened.

She said: “We believe that the source of this issue is that when MCC planning approved the building of flats next to Night & Day there was no consideration to the neighbouring pre-existing music venue. Consideration of noise was one of the planning conditions specified by MCC planning department with the developer and is held on public record at MCC planning portal.

“An initial acoustic report recommended that an additional second report be conducted that addressed any noise ingress from the venue into the flat. This report was never commissioned and the development was signed off.” She said the initial report identified the complainant’s flat as a site that would be at particular risk of noise.

“To make matters even more incomprehensible, since the abatement notice was issued and the complainant has moved out of their flat, there have been no further noise complaints. It’s simply unacceptable for MCC to continue the premise that the responsibility for this planning mistake lies with the developer or builder.

“We just want to get on with our lives and our business and keep Night & Day alive for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone in Manchester and beyond.”

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The bar, which has hosted bands such as Elbow, Wet Leg, Arctic Monkeys and Manic Street Preachers, was recently shortlisted for a Music Week Best Grassroots Venue in the UK award and over 98,000 people have signed the petition at change.org to keep the venue open.

In a statement at the time the notice was issued, MCC said: “It must be made explicitly clear from the outset that the council has never threatened to close down this venue, nor is there any legislation that would allow a noise abatement notice to be used to close a premises.

“It is important to reiterate throughout this process extensive discussions have taken place to try and address the statutory noise nuisance, which was the sole reason a noise abatement notice was served.”

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