Bury St Edmunds bar to appeal changes to licence

Bar Milan owner Coady L-Rhys and manager Michele Wilson
Bar Milan owner Coady L-Rhys and manager Michele Wilson
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The owner of a bar in Bury St Edmunds says he will appeal conditions which have been imposed on him to combat noise complaints from a neighbour.

St John’s Street resident Jessica Hanlon told a licensing hearing on Wednesday that her family had been ‘struggling with noise and associated problems’ since Bar Milan opened 10 months ago.

She said: “When they opened, our baby was still a few months old and had been quite ill at the start of his life. This combined with the noise and other issues from the bar has made for a very unsettled and stressful time.”

“The noise outside the bar is extremely disturbing and is often loud - drunken conversations of inappropriate topics and language which is clearly audible throughout our property and not of a type I would choose to expose my child to,” she added.

Ann Ashby, senior public health and housing officer for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, told the hearing that three complaints had been made by residents in December last year, with further complaints in February and April.

Recommending a number of modifications to the bar’s licence, she said she had found there was ‘excessive noise’ and it was ‘clearly very intrusive’ as a colleague parked 40 metres away had also been able to hear it.

Bar owner Coady L-Rhys said he had paid for additional soundproofing, moved the bar’s karaoke area, disconnected two speakers, installed a power output limiter on the sound system, introduced regular staff patrols outside and had offered to pay for triple glazing for Miss Hanlon, which she had declined.

He said: “We’re trying our hardest to sort this out but we do have a problem with people going up and down the street shouting homophobic abuse. As a gay-friendly establishment, we’re going to have that because people are quite narrow-minded.”

He asked for environmental health to conduct a follow-up investigation to monitor the bar’s improved noise level and encouraged members to review council-owned CCTV to see where any groups gathering outside the bar had come from.

The hearing found Bar Milan had breached a noise abatement notice served on it at the end of April.

Members modified the bar’s licence to prevent re-entry to customers after 11pm, live music after 11.30pm Wednesday-Saturday or recorded music after 11pm Tuesday-Saturday.

Mr L-Rhys will also have to provide double glazing to the bar’s front window, install a lobby door (unless he can provide evidence that one is not feasible) and use a qualified door supervisor from 10.30pm Thursday-Saturday and on Boxing Day and New Years Eve.

Before members retired to consider their decision, Mr L-Rhys told them: “If I have to get door staff, it will close the club because we can’t afford those overheads.”

Speaking after the hearing, he said he was ‘relieved’ at the decision but planned to appeal against the conditions for no re-entry and a door supervisor.

He said: “Most of these I suggested to the council so I’m very happy they’ve taken on board my suggestions. I’m relieved the council are willing to work with us and, the things we don’t quite agree with, we’ll appeal.”

He has 21 days to apply to the magistrates’ court to appeal the licensing committee’s recommendations.