Manchester’s Night & Day is once again fighting for survival following noise complaints from a resident who has moved into a flat close to the music venue. Served with a Noise Abatement Notice earlier this month, it is being threatened with closure by Manchester City Council.
In a statement, the venue explains that the new complaints have been made by a local resident who moved into the city centre location during lockdown, while Night & Day was closed. Since COVID restrictions have lifted and live music has returned, the resident has made a number of objections resulting in intervention from the local council.
“During lockdown a new resident moved to Manchester and to a property that’s within close proximity to the venue”, it explains. “As the restrictions lifted and life returned to the surrounding Northern Quarter area, we were able to put on our first live music event. The resident visited us next day and has since reported us to MCC a number of times. We have met the resident a number of times to explain what we do and that nothing has changed operationally to how we operated pre-lockdown and the 28 years prior to that”.
“We ask for Manchester City Council Licensing to remove our Noise Abatement Notice and for the council to address the real issue here, which is that housing with ill-considered planning and construction has been approved and built next to a pre-existing live music business”, it goes on. “Night & Day is located at 26 Oldham Street. Over the past fifteen years, flats have been built or existing buildings converted to flats around us with no real thought or consideration to the pre-existing business, building and what it does”.
“We also ask not to be labelled us as a ‘nuisance'”, it adds. “We believe we are a real cultural asset to the city of Manchester, the North West and indirectly to the UK as a whole. We believe we are a key part of Manchester and are very proud of what we do and have achieved. During lockdown, we were fortunate to receive Arts Council funding for being recognised as a place of cultural significance and also an Expanded Additional Restrictions Grant for cultural and entertainment value from Manchester City Council”.
This is not the first time Night & Day has been placed in this situation. In 2014 it was served with a Noise Abatement Notice in similar circumstances (although without the lockdown element). Again, it related to complaints from a single person who had recently chosen to move into a property near the long-established music venue.
On that occasion, a petition gained 73,876 signatures and artists including Johnny Marr, Frank Turner and Tim Burgess voiced their support for Night & Day. Ultimately, the venue successfully defeated the action taken against it and remained open. This time around, a new petition calling for Manchester City Council to back down has gained almost 50,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
In the mid-2010s, incidents such as this became commonplace. Music venues would help to revive a previously lagging area of a city, which would then attract property developers. New flats and houses would then be built in the area without consideration for what was already there – ie the very things that had made that part of town attractive in the first place – meaning that when new residents moved into their inadequately soundproofed new homes they would complain.
As a result of campaigning on this issue, in 2018, the UK government introduced the ‘agent of change’ principle into planning law, which places the onus on developers to identify and mitigate potential future noise issues. This has led to a decrease in stories such as this, but clearly there are still issues where properties were developed without their surroundings considered prior to the new rules coming into place.
This Saturday will mark the 30th anniversary of Night & Day’s opening in 1991.
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