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Beer Gardens – keeping neighbours on side

I have neighbours who constantly complain about our beer garden - what can I do?

Q: We have two neighbours who are on our case basically making things up to the council re our beer gardens, and are going out of there way to make life hard for us. The council in Camden won’t review us because they know we are doing nothing wrong, but they continue to complain to the council and cause us mega problems. It’s like harassing and bully tactics. What action can we take? Any advice would be great.

A: There is not an easy answer to this. Where a pub has a beer garden with residents living close by there is likely to be some noise escape from the customers using the garden; whether this amounts to a disturbance or a nuisance in a practical or legal sense is largely subjective and dependent as much on the tolerance and sensitivity of the neighbours as on the customer activity.

Some neighbours will embrace the pub, use it as customers and accept that noise is part of community living but others (for whatever reason) will seek to make life difficult.

You cannot stop people complaining.

The best advice is to continue to operate as well as possible, to make notes, keep records – even photographs of any incident or complaint and to deal with these promptly and politely and to keep a record of these even if it is simply an acknowledgment.

Secondly to try and isolate the complainants and to get the council firmly on your side.

You could arrange to meet with your licensing officer, the environmental health officer if necessary and perhaps even the local ward councillor and invite the residents along; in this way you demonstrate that you are trying to resolve any residents’ concerns.

Hopefully, the council will come to realise that these complaints are without foundation and are frivolous and no longer take them seriously and the residents will effectively run out of steam. If you cannot make the residents give up or go away then if they do decide to challenge your licence by way of review you are at least in the best possible position to defeat it.

There is not an easy answer to this.

Where a pub has a beer garden with residents living close by there is likely to be some noise escape from the customers using the garden; whether this amounts to a disturbance or a nuisance in a practical or legal sense is largely subjective and dependent as much on the tolerance and sensitivity of the neighbours as on the customer activity.

Some neighbours will embrace the pub, use it as customers and accept that noise is part of community living but others (for whatever reason) will seek to make life difficult.

You cannot stop people complaining.

The best advice is to continue to operate as well as possible, to make notes, keep records – even photographs of any incident or complaint and to deal with these promptly and politely and to keep a record of these even if it is simply an acknowledgment.

Secondly to try and isolate the complainants and to get the council firmly on your side.

You could arrange to meet with your licensing officer, the environmental health officer if necessary and perhaps even the local ward councillor and invite the residents along; in this way you demonstrate that you are trying to resolve any residents’ concerns.

Hopefully, the council will come to realise that these complaints are without foundation and are frivolous and no longer take them seriously and the residents will effectively run out of steam. If you cannot make the residents give up or go away then if they do decide to challenge your licence by way of review you are at least in the best possible position to defeat it.

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