We should begin by making it clear that we are broadly supportive of bringing the colonnades into use provided this can be done in a way which respects their position at the heart of the World Heritage City.
However, the premises are very close to a number of noise and nuisance sensitive residential premises who are regularly affected by noise and anti-social behaviour from late night revellers in Grand Parade and Orange Grove. Many of the nearest noise sensitive premises are occupied by people in their 80's. People living on levels 1,2 and 3 of the Empire regularly report this kind of disturbance as do visitors sleeping in guest rooms at the (basement) level of the Colonnades.
These premises are at the epicentre of Bath's late night drinking culture with drink based establishments on North Parade, Pierrepont Street, across the other side of the weir and late night refreshment establishments in Grand Parade and Orange Grove. In addition to this Grand Parade and Orange Grove see most of the late night drinking crowd from the rest of Bath as they make their way to the taxi ranks and the station. This means that additional, particularly late night, licences issued in this area are very likely to increase the disorder already experience by residents and enforcement agencies.
Another concern is music and particularly amplified music. Residents are already impacted by noise from musical events beside the river and we are aware from many instances across the city that music created in vaults, particularly if it contains low frequencies, can propagate through building structures for great distances. The guest rooms in the basement the Empire which are at the level of the Colonnades are often occupied by young children and are particularly sensitive to this sort of disturbance.
River safety is a major concern in Bath with a quite unacceptable number of deaths having occurred over recent years many of which have involved victims who have been drinking alcohol. We have witnessed occasions when police resource have be diverted to deal with people who, often under the influence of alcohol, have decided to "take the plunge" in the pool behind the weir. Again this raises concerns about the management of premises serving alcohol at the riverside which we believe the licencing authority needs to address in setting conditions.
In the light of this we would urge the licencing authority to impose the following changes and additions to the proposed conditions:
1. No alcohol to be consumed in outside areas after 22:30 and the area to be cleared by 23:00.
- Outside areas are invariably a source of noise pollution
2. All alcohol sales to cease at 23:30
- To allow for drinking up time
3. Alcohol sales on Sundays to end at 22:30
- Sunday is currently the only really relatively quiet night and that should be preserved
4. New Year’s alcohol sales to end at 1:00
5. No alcohol sales before 11:00
- as a matter of general principle it is not clear that the authority should provide for the early morning consumption of alcohol. If when the units are let tenants can offer a justification in their particular circumstances they may then apply formally for a variation.
6.On-sales of alcohol to be served by waiters only to customers sitting at tables and consuming food.
- the is already too much vertical drinking in this area
7. Customers not to leave the premises with glass containers.
8. Ideally we would like to see music restricted to a level appropriate to creating an ambience for eating.
However, if the authority is not minded to do this we would propose:
- noise limiters on all amplifiers set to levels agreed by the local authority
- no noise being audible in the nearest noise sensitive premises
- a requirement to close all windows and doors after 23:00 if music is being performed
9. CCTV coverage of all exits from the premises and on to the parades.
10. A dispersal policy for the management of people leaving after midnight.
11. A requirement to clear litter around the entrance and exits at close of business