Agenda item


The Committee considered the following report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of Main Issues


1.1             To consider an application for the renewal of a 7-Day Annual Indoor Entertainments Licence for The Suffolk Inn based on the Council’s standard conditions to provide music, singing, dancing or any other entertainment of a like kind. They are also licensed for any public contest e.g., pool or snooker competitions, and for the playing of pool, snooker, etc.


1.2       Area and Location       Ref. No.                 Applicant


                        The Suffolk Inn,         WK/2020/02218    Mr Tony Clarke,

                        12 -14 Suffolk Road,                               The Suffolk Inn Ltd,

            Belfast                                                       53 Andersonstown Road,

            BT11 0PB                                                   Belfast,

                                                                              BT11 9AG


1.2            A location map of the premises is attached as Appendix 1.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       Considering the information presented and representations received in respect of the application you are required to make a decision to either:


1.          Approve the application for the renewal of the 7-Day Annual Entertainments Licence, or

2.          Approve the application for the renewal of the 7-Day Annual Entertainments Licence with special conditions, or

3.          Refuse the application for the renewal of the 7-Day Annual Entertainments Licence.


2.2       If the application is refused, or special conditions are attached to the licence to which the applicant does not consent, then the applicant may appeal the Council’s decision within 21 days of notification of that decision to the County Court.


3.0       Main Report


            Key Issues


3.1       One objection has been received from a resident living near the premises. The nature of their objection relates to the following: 


·        Unacceptable levels of noise from patrons.

·        Antisocial behaviour by patrons of premises.


3.2       A copy of the objection is attached as Appendix 2.



            Liaison meetings


3.3       Following receipt of the objection the Service tried to facilitate liaison meetings between all parties involved to discuss the resident’s issues and attempt to resolve them.


3.4       Attempts to hold a meeting either online or in person proved unsuccessful. However, the resident still wish to pursue the objection.


3.5       As required by the Committee Protocol the applicant and the objector were requested to provide their representation in advance of the meeting for consideration.


            Objectors Representation


3.6       The objector Representation Form is attached in Appendix 3 and this has been provided to the applicant, as required by the protocol.


3.7       In general, the representations relate to concerns as follows:


·        persistent, loud and unsociable noise from private events such as DJs, singers and private parties

·        subsequent issues that come fromprivate events being held as the noise is often not regulated

·        significant anxiety and tension it causes within the local surrounding area.

·        residents are anxious every weekend that their property will be damaged and especially concerned about the quality of sleep and wellbeing they will lack.


3.8       The objector has been invited to attend your meeting to discuss any matters relating to the objections should they arise.


            Applicants Representation


3.9       The applicant has provided their Representation Form, as required by the Protocol, and a copy of their response is attached as Appendix 4.The applicant has highlighted the measures which have been undertaken to try and address residents’ concerns.


3.10      The applicants Representation Form has also been provided to the objectors, as required by the protocol.



3.11     A summary of the applicant’s representation is as follows:


·        Shutters down at 11pm to minimise noise

·        Door staff to control two doors to ensure doors were not propped opened and trained/spoke to staff to watch out for this

·        Drink must be left in the hallway/table when going outside to reduce people standing outside when smoking

·        Approached a local taxi firm to make taxis available at the end of the night

·        Conversations with DJ about the volume of music.

·        Moved speakers to point inwards to the hall.


            Counter representations



3.12     In response to the Representation Form submitted by the applicant, the objector has advised NTNT have witnessed noise, the proposed amendments are not adhered to, there is broken glass in the street and windows are kept open during the summer.


3.13     No counter representation from the applicant has been received.


3.14     The applicant and/or their representatives will be available at your meeting to answer any queries you may have in relation to the application.


                        Details of the Premises


3.15     The areas licensed to provide entertainment are the:


·        Ground Floor Lounge with a maximum capacity of 220 persons

·        First Floor Lounge with a maximum capacity of 240 persons.


3.16      The days and hours entertainment can be provided are:


·        Monday to Saturday:  11.30 am to 2.00 am the following

                                      morning and,

·        Sunday:                       12.30 pm to midnight.






3.17      The PSNI have been consulted and attended a joint meeting with the Licensee and Council Officers in relation to the application and confirmed that. they have no objection to it.  This is response is contained within Appendix 5.





3.18     The Northern Ireland Fire Rescue Service were consulted in relation to the application and have advised they have no objection to it. However following a site visit in January 2022 they did make verbal recommendation regarding a reduction in numbers in the first floor due to management of the premises, this matter continues to be ongoing but will be resolved prior to the renewal of the current application.


3.19     A copy of this email is included as Appendix 6.


Health, safety and enforcement inspections


3.20     The premises have been inspected and all works to ensure patron safety in the premises have been completed to the satisfaction of the Service.


            Noise issues


3.21     Nine noise complaints have been received by the Night Time Noise Team (NTNT) since the renewal application was made in November 2021. When responding to the complaints and attending the area, Officers of the Noise Team have witnessed faint music and patron voices and antisocial behaviour.


3.22     On two of the occasions, Officers of the Noise Team witnessed excessive noise levels that warranted action.


3.23     On 12th February 2022 Night-Time Noise Team (NTNT) witnessed audible music from open doors and very loud bass beat music. They spoke to the Duty Manager to lower the music and close the doors.


3.24     On 24th July 2022 NTNT issued a verbal warning to the manager after attending the premises following three separate reports of noise. NTNT witnessed loud music to the ground and first floor, first floor windows all open and noise was escaping through the opened front doors as patrons were leaving.


3.25     There is a special condition attached to the premises when entertainment is being provided that all openable windows remain fixed shut.


3.26     The applicant has provided an acoustic report as requested by the Service. A copy of this has been forwarded to Environmental Protection Unit.


3.27     Members are reminded that the Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2011 gives council’s additional powers in relation to the control of entertainment noise after 11.00 pm.


Financial and Resource Implications


3.28      Officers carry out monitoring inspections on premises receiving complaints, but this is catered for within existing budgets.


            Equality or Good Relations Implications/

            Rural Needs Assessment


3.29     There are no issues associated with this report.”


            The Committee was advised that both the objector and the applicant were in attendance to address the Committee.


            The Committee was further advised that the objector had requested anonymity and accordingly it was agreed that the live broadcast would be stopped, and no recording would be made in relation to that part of the meeting.


            The objector was admitted to the meeting and proceeded to outline the objections to the application as set out in paragraph 3.7 of the report.


            The Applicant was then admitted to the meeting to address the objections.  She outlined the measures which had been put in place in order to mitigate any noise issues and indicated her willingness to work with the objectors and the Council to address any concerns.


The Committee approved the application for the renewal of the 7-Day Annual Entertainments Licence and delegated conditions to the Director of Planning and Building Control


Supporting documents: