A waterside events venue in Brightlingsea was found to be operating without planning permission after nearby residents complaints about noise emanating from the premises.
As a result, The Waterfront on Brightlingsea Marina has submitted a retrospective planning application to Tendring District Council for change of use to a function room and for permission to install sound attenuation measures.
In her application, Kate Firkin of business owner Waterside Marina Events Ltd, says that when the venue – next door to the No 1 Harbour Square wine bar – opened in July 2021 she had been assured by the landlord's agent that planning permission was not required as the building had been intended for use as a restaurant. However, after residents in flats surrounding the venue complained about the noise from amplified music, planners were alerted.
As part of the application, the venue commissioned a sound insulation assessment. This recommends treating the walls of the fire escape – which was found to be allowing a lot of noise to circulate through the four-storey building – and other walls with insulating plasterboard. Other sound-blocking suggestions include installing a suspended accoustic ceiling, lining columns with insulation, isolating speakers and the stage area from the walls and fitting a rubber mat under the stage to minimise the sound travelling from drum kits.
"It is accepted that the amenity of residents is important hence the steps proposed that will incur a considerable financial outlay for the applicants," says a supporting statment for the application, compiled by a planning consultant. It adds that if a first phase of sound attenuating measures aren't found to be sufficient, then there are further steps that could be taken.
The venue, which has one full-time and up to five part-time members of staff, provides a space for parties, weddings, conferences and the like with a mixture of daytime and evening events.