Cllr Gilchrist asked about distances and whether the nearest house was less than 30m away. He also asked what materials the canopy would be constructed of as he would prefer it to absorb rather than reflect the sound. The officer replied that the material used would be glass and that separation distances don’t apply as the use was already established by a previous permission. He also said the issue of overlooking or loss of privacy doesn’t apply.
Cllr Kelly said he didn’t know if the proposal exacerbated the problem. He said there were two views, one expressed by the petitioner that it would amplify the sound and the agents view it would not. He said if the canopy did affect the noise it could put the licence at risk.
Cllr Boult said it was a big grey area and he was not 100% sure. He referred to the Environmental Health investigation into the noise problem. Cllr Mitchell said it would be beneficial to defer it to a later date because of noise attenuation. This was seconded by Cllr Salter. Deferring was approved by all except Cllr Realey who voted against deferral.
An environmental health officer confirmed the petitioner’s comments that there was an officer out tonight and that there was an event on tonight. A noise analyzer had been in place since 17th January, which would be left in an extra week. He said a crucial factor was whether it was a statutory nuisance or a breach of the licensing objective by being a public nuisance.
If noise levels were found to be excessive at the residential properties then they would need to increase the insulation. If the noise was excessive and a statutory nuisance it could lead to a review of the licence. However until there was clear evidence there was not a great deal that could be done.
Cllr Elderton said it was difficult as they couldn’t confirm whether it exacerbated the noise until it was built. He asked for a picture of the canopy. He asked if it was a bridge too far taking into account the series of complaints. He referred to the concern of the petitioner that it would concentrate the sound and asked if there was going to be sound escaping.
Cllr Kenny pointed out that in the written report there were no environmental health implications and asked for further information.
The officer replied that there were current investigations by Environmental Health regarding noise disturbance. However it was still a question whether the noise caused a statutory nuisance. He said the use was already established.
The architect Chris Taylor then addressed some of his points. He pointed out that the area had been previously used as a balcony. He said the design of the canopy wouldn’t lead to an increase in noise.
Cllr Ellis (ward councillor for the area) said he supported Mr. Johnson’s concerns. He mentioned the house and flats close by which were all effected by this. He said he was a great supporter of development in West Kirby and that this was thriving and flourishing. He was however concerned about the upstairs and the use of the roof as a balcony. He said if the canopy was put there it would be like an amphitheatre. He didn’t agree with the architect Chris Taylor that the door was small. He said when the doors and windows were open a row was coming out. He said the bar had a poor reputation for adhering to the rules. He referred to the police being called out and asked the Committee to seek the opinion of Cliff Jones. He said there appears to be some good agreement from the residents that the noise was greater. He asked the committee to defer the matter to ask Cliff or his team to make an assessment regarding the noise amplification.
The Chair pointed out that the architect had said there was a small door originally.
The petitioner handed round a diagram to the committee members and told them his name was Steve Johnson. He told them his parents lived nearby and that he had two objections. He felt the application for a canopy was a change of use and referred to a previous application. He felt it was not a balcony, but a roof and the balustrade was only ornamental.
He felt there was no evidence that the structure of the canopy would cause an extra problem regarding noise. He said the design was similar to an amphitheatre and it would project the noise forward and downward. He had been in correspondence with the Director of the Acoustics Research Unit which was part of the School of Architecture at Liverpool University.
He pointed out an important, existing problem with noise. He mentioned out of thirty reports to the police, nineteen had been from music. There was live music and noise from these premises. He felt the worst was the first floor which needed soundproofing. There had been investigations by Environmental Health who were tonight measuring the noise.
He felt there would be noise resulting from people under the canopy. The noise as heard from his parent’s house was 85 dB. He again pointed out that the noise would be projected forward and down. He asked for the application to be rejected because of noise and that asked that the restaurant adhere to current licensing and planning conditions.
The meeting started with the Chair, Cllr Mitchell welcoming those present to the meeting. The minutes of the meeting held on the 25th January were agreed. Cllr Elderton declared a prejudicial interest in item 6.
Cllr Johnson asked for a site visit for item 6 (Sheldrake’s Restaurant in Heswall) and Cllr Keeley asked for a site visit for item 9 (Woodville in Thornton Hough). Both site visits were agreed.
The Planning Committee first considered item 10 (a change of use from an office to a dwelling in Claughton). An officer said it was a departure from the Unitary Development Plan and there had previous been a refusal for a nursery here on highway safety grounds. There was no petition against the application. Cllr Elderton said for the benefit of the audience that although it was not normally within the criteria that it had been marketed. Cllr Mitchell proposed the application was approved, seconded by Cllr Elderton. All councillors agreed to approve it.
The committee then went on to consider item 8 – a canopy and first floor balustrade for a restaurant in West Kirby. The officer pointed out that there were objections to this application and the condition restricting any music or amplified voices in this area. The committee then heard from the lead petitioner.