Complaints from neighbours silences Sheffield micro-pub

Sheffield City Council decided today that a local pub could not use background music after a noise complaint from neighbours.

The Brass Monkey of 185 Middlewood Road, Hillsborough, has, despite appeal, been unable to convince Sheffield City Councillors to permit the use of music on its premises owing to noise disruption caused to their neighbours.

The artisan beer-based micro-pub, which opened in 2018 and specified that it would not play music in its initial proposal, has had a series of complaints about general noise disruption from their upstairs neighbours who live above the pub.

Arguing that the building is structurally unfit to accommodate the playing of music, the upstairs residents, who did not attend the meeting, requested a total cessation of music on the below premises unless appropriate structural changes have been made.

Martin McGrail, 61, the owner and proprietor of the small pub, argued to the committee that auditory testing had been conducted several times and found that the soundproofing measures the pub employed were effective.

Mr McGrail further argued that the pub is reliant on music to compete with other local micro-pubs who offer a more comfortable and easygoing environment.

He said: “This has been detrimental to our business so that’s why we’re looking at just trying to make it more – a better customer experience without going over the top and compete with others now which are on our doorstep. It’s nothing more than trying to stay alive.”

Mr McGrail, since assuming direct control of the pub’s trading since September 2022, has continually demonstrated his intent to undertake further structural changes to insulate the above residences from the sound.

Neal Pates, a representative on behalf of the complainants and Environmental Protection Service has similarly confirmed the residents and Licensing Committee’s willingness to let such works proceed.

Despite this, Mr Pates nevertheless expresses doubt that the building will be able to handle such noise regardless of subsequent changes. 

He said “I am pessimistic that such works would be successful. The age and construction of the building would require really quite significant and technically competent sound-insulation measures.”

Despite commending Mr McGrail’s willingness to edify and take steps to address the situation, committee members ultimately refused to vary the relevant clause in regards to the playing of music. Mr McGrail still intends to go forward with sound-insulation works.

Written by Ben Ryan

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