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Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Recent Developments at North Parade

Many of you will know that the OPA nightclub applied for a licence variation that would have enabled it the sell alcohol on a parcel of land it was planning to lease from BaNES in Parade Gardens. The applicant sought to argue that such a variation would reduce nuisance to neighbours by cutting back on the need for customers to gather at the club entrance.

TARA and a number of local residents objected to this proposal on the grounds that it would merely add a further source of night time disturbance to residents. On July 29th the Licensing Panel accepted these arguments and rejected the application.

An appeal by the owner of the Penny Lane party boat against conditions imposed by the Licensing Panel was heard by Bath magistrates on August 26th. TARA had provided written evidence to the court and offered to assist the defendant, Bath and North East Somerset District Council, with verbal evidence at the appeal hearing but in the event this was not necessary as the appellant elected not to dispute any of the evidence provided by the defendant and his witnesses.

The magistrates decided to tighten conditions relating to the closure of doors and windows, the loading and unloading of the vessel and the posting of signs requiring the operator to have regard to the needs of local residents. The ban on the playing of music outside the vessel after 22.00 when it is east of Churchill Bridge was replaced by a condition requiring that no music be played outside the vessel in any location after 22.30 each day.

In our view the magistrates afforded local residents at least the same or better protection than had been proposed by the Licensing Panel. It will be important, however, for residents to continue to monitor the operation of this vessel and its adherence to licence conditions.

Given time limits imposed previously by the Licensing Panel on the use of the riverside terraces, and assuming that the OPA owner is in compliance with these conditions, night time disturbances from this area should have been largely eliminated.

This leaves noise and disturbance caused by smokers and arriving and departing customers at the club entrance. We intend to call a meeting of residents in the next few weeks to review this and other issues of concern to see what further action needs to be taken. In the meantime resident should continue to monitor and log nuisances and disturbances in their area from whatever source.

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