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Booming bass coming from pub below apartment block was “like Chinese water torture”

A WOMAN giving submission to a licensing hearing said booming bass coming from the pub below her apartment block was “like Chinese water torture”.

She made the comment to a Denbighshire council licensing sub-committee, conducting a licence review hearing, brought on behalf of leaseholders living above The Royal Victoria pub on Sandy Lane, Prestatyn.

The woman, only identified as Alison, was supporting the application which had been sought by Mark O’Grady, company secretary of Victoria Apartments (Prestatyn) Ltd.

He asked for a reduction in licensed hours from 3 am to 11 pm between Sunday and Thursday and midnight on Friday and Saturday.

Mr O’Grady also wanted “appropriate and decent quality soundproofing between the licensed premises and the first floor”.

The sub-committee hearing had been postponed from last February because of Covid-19 and it was alleged loud music played until the early hours of the morning, the noise created by drunken people outside the apartments and anti-social behaviour was affecting residents’ quality of life.

There were submissions by leaseholders from nine of the 21 flats, relating to noise disturbance coming from the pub, which they claimed was playing loud dance music and holding karaoke sessions into the early hours.

Alison told the hearing there were “vibrations” permeating the building most weekends and as she went outside her flat the “boom, boom, boom” of the bass from dance music coming from the pub got louder.

She added: “From the bedroom area when we are laying there it can go on at 1 am and you can feel the thumping and vibrations.

“It’s like Chinese water torture.”

Earlier the hearing was told how there had been numerous complaints made to the council about the noise.

Residents had only been offered recording equipment on one occasion but it was refused as the noise abated between January and March each year.

Deana Harrison, a director of the apartment company, said:

“You can’t open your windows in summer because of the noise. I’ve upgraded the windows but that doesn’t help.

“I can’t tell you what songs are being played but I can tell you I’m bobbing to the beat.”

The nuisance occurred mostly on weekends between March and December leaseholder Liz Davies told the hearing.

She said: “It’s been going on for years and years.”

She added the manager was responsive to her complaints but the problem would return after a short period of time.

“When she’s there at work staff seem to be aware and keep the noise down – and then they forget,” she said. “There were fights outside. I know people have called the police – nothing has happened.

“If anyone here chose to live above a pub they would expect some noise, but not until 3 am in the morning.”

She said no one was aware the licence had been changed to 3 am and the hearing heard residents weren’t contacted directly about the change.

North Wales Police said, “although there have been a number of incidents recorded against the premises, (they) have demonstrated they have been adhering to their licensing conditions”.

Darren Kelly, of Admiral Taverns, offered mediation to residents but they felt they had tried to come to a solution with the company and had offered to send someone round to the premises to quote for soundproofing work.

He said the company would be open to looking at sound-proofing the pub but felt a reduction in hours would hit its business.

Mr Kelly said the current manager was handing in the keys tomorrow (Friday).

He said: “We believe it’s all down to management and a new manager might come in. We don’t want residents to have problems.

“There are obviously noise issues but we need to come to a course of action.

“There’s obviously areas in the pub where we could put in measures to reduce the noise – but yeah, we need to get the meeting arranged about sound-proofing works.

“I don’t think we need a reduction in hours. I think the police have made no recommendations. The hours are something we would like to keep the same.”

The former hotel above the bar had been changed to apartments by Admiral Taverns prior to 2010 and it retained the freehold, with flats leased for 99 years.

In its ruling, the licensing sub-committee imposed a licence condition meaning live and recorded music should stop at 12 midnight every night of the week.

It also ruled the company should work with the council’s pollution control and licensing sections to put in glazing and soundproofing measures at the pub, to the satisfaction of the local authority, within six months.

The licensing sub-committee “found no compelling evidence in the context of anti-social behaviour directly associated with the premises”.

The full ruling, and reasons for it, will be emailed to all parties within five days, along with information on parties’ right of appeal.

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