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'Complaints will spell end of Kazimier and Nation, not the bulldozer'

Larry Neild at the Town Hall hears why residential developments must be kept away from clubs

Written by . Published on November 18th 2014.

'Complaints will spell end of Kazimier and Nation, not the bulldozer'

LIVERPOOL'S planning committee today (Tuesday) gave the go-ahead to amended plans for Wolstenholme Square which ensures a future for its famous clubland occupants, Kazimier and Nation/Cream.

Instead of long term residential units on the square, which were threatening the venues' future existence, the new development will consist of serviced apartments, as revealed by Liverpool Confidential yesterday. These will not stand in the way of the clubs' night-to-night operations.

Until solid plans are submitted, talk of the square’s clubs being bulldozed in 2017 is as speculative today as it was last week

Councillors from Riverside Ward, which includes the square, hailed the decision as a new era for the vital night time economy, and talked of how it could be reconciled with residential developments.

Cllr Hattie Wood told the committee she would be carefully monitoring an indicative master plan which earmarks numerous residential schemes across Ropewalks.

It is important to remember that this plan carries no legal weight. It is no more than a "for instance" list of what could happen, drawn up by parties in the private sector. So until solid plans are submitted, talk of the square’s clubs being bulldozed in 2017 is as speculative today as it was last week.

Steve MunbySteve MunbyNevertheless, both councillors said today's planning application for flats in the square, and the subsequent shockwaves which went around the city when it was revealed by Confidential that the clubs would have to close to accommodate them, had come as a wake-up call. They said it highlighted the need to protect the world famous clubs which pull in hundreds of thosuands of people to the area every year.

There is also greater recognition from the city’s planning department about how to proceed with regard to residential developments around night economy venues.

Nation licensee Steve Fitzsimmons said the club employed 100 people and, along with Kazimier, attracted between 200,000 and 300,000 people to Wolstenholme Square every year.

“Many of those people make a weekend of it, supporting hotels and restaurants and shopping," he said. “We have a good relationship with our neighbours and we also employ our own acoustic engineers.”

Cllr Munby, who as cabinet member for neighbourhoods has responsibility for noise issues, said the application had raised important issues for city centre clubs and venues.

The answer, he said, was to ensure good noise insulation for clubs and residences.

The solution in Wolsthenholme Square – developing serviced apartments – was one answer to the issue.

Still there are many people who see today’s decision not as a victory for clubland, but as a reprieve.

These former merchants' houses opposite the Kazimier and Nation will be turned into serviced apartmentsThese former merchants' houses opposite the Kazimier and Nation will be turned into serviced apartments, rather than longer term residential units

They will not be comforted by words from the council’s environmental officer who said when a noise complaint is made by a resident, a club saying ‘we were here first’ is not a defence.

The committee heard from civil servant Steve Longworth from Aigburth.

Steve, a DJ and guitar player, told the committee even the amended plans should be kicked out.

“I have been visiting clubs since I was legally allowed to drink, and I have seen over 10 years clubs being forced to close because people have moved in. It has happened in Hardman Street and it has happened in Manchester.

“Local people use their own enthusiasm and drive to create a buzz, and once it succeeds the big boys move in to gentrify areas, and then the complaints start.

“I will predict that within a few years Nation and Kazimier will be forced to close because of complaints. It has happened everywhere else and, no matter what they say, it will happen here.

“What is needed is a complete separation to keep residential developments away from clubs which, by the very nature of their activities, are noisy places.  I for one am not reassured by today’s decision.”

Cllr Munby said: “What this has done has brought together the local councillors, residents, club owners and others and we must now move forward for everyone’s mutual benefit.”

Wolstenholme AquareWolstenholme Square

The indicative master plan, spoken about in the application, is, at the end of the day, little more than a developer's wish list.

What we could really do with is a laid down policy from the planning department and the environment department to make it clear to any potential developers that schemes within earshot of night venues have to live with the consequences, and ensure any residential properties are properly soundproofed - at the developer’s expense.

A more important question is why would anybody annoyed by noise move into a clubbers area anyway?

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7 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

mickeydrippin'November 18th 2014.

People who wish to rent (or buy) city centre apartments, invariably go to view their prospective accommodation during the daytime, when the neighbourhood might be relatively quiet. They move in and only then discover that there is a bar or club not far away with inevitable music and late-night drinkers. That is when complaints about the noise start to be heard, with the bar or club becoming targets for residents' anger. People who wish to reside in the city centre should either visit the neighbourhood on a Saturday evening or enquire about the various pubs, bar and clubs in the area before they commit themselves.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Wooly backNovember 18th 2014.

You deserve everything you get if you move into a city centre flat and don't think it's going to be noisy at night or at the weekend

AnonymousNovember 18th 2014.

Unfortunately there is case law on this. A recent-ish case concerned a woman who had bought a house in a village close to the church. So far, so Midsomer Murders. The church, as it had done for hundreds of years, summoned the faithful to prayer by ringing the bells. She objected to the noise. It was pointed out that the church had been doing this for hundreds of years, and she should have known it was a church on account of the big pointy thing on top and dead people buried all round it, therefore she had no grounds for complaint as it was her risk to buy a house close to an existing 'nuisance' she already knew existed. It was held that although the church had been ringing it's bells from time immemorial, nonetheless this constituted a nuisance if a complaint was made and just because nobody had complained before didn't extinguish the noise nuisance. It was still noisy. Just because it was a church made no difference. It would have been the same if it was an iron foundry or anything else that made a noise. Result: church bells stopped from ringing, faithful summoned by app, woman (probably) ends up murdered in a ditch. So sound proofing is the way forward. In principle you have to control the noise nuisance such that it doesn't exist, or at least falls within existing control levels, whatever they are. You are then seen to be making every reasonable effort not to create the nuisance in the first place, and anyone who complains has to prove that what you have done is somehow inadequate. You are then in the area of negotiating on a small issue, not defending against a major one. This includes controlling noisy crowds of people exiting in the small hours of the morning as you have created the nuisance, even if no noise comes out of the premises itself.

AnonymousNovember 18th 2014.

I bought a house in Hale Village and I am demanding they close down Liverpool Airport. You should hear the noise. I asked them to turn off the engines when landing or taking of but they won't listen...well they can't hear me for the sodding planes! Shut them down!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 20th 2014.

You are absolutely right. Take them to court. You will find Peel Holding's lawyers just over there, there, and oh look there's another one!

Canning LadNovember 19th 2014.

How does one soundproof listed Georgian houses with 9" thick walls and sash windows?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 24th 2014.

Free ear muffs for all residents, make the clubs buy them, they could even have their logo printed on them.

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