Our Acoustics Team Take Their Entertainment Noise Seminar to Newcastle

Following on from a successful event in Manchester, our Acoustics Team hosted another Entertainment Noise seminar in Newcastle at the end of November.

Technical Director Simon Urquhart hosted the event, with fellow acousticians, planners, environmental health officers and developers in attendance at the stylish venue of Bealim House. After enjoying a drink and delicious buffet over informal networking, Simon introduced the speakers; Regional Director Jon Fox, Principal Acoustic Consultant Richard Calvert and Senior Acoustic Consultant Edward Goldsmith. However, just as the seminar began, the sound from the evening revellers downstairs broke through and it was apparent that acoustic mitigation may be required, topical and a point that was not missed by the audience. Speakers were asked to raise their noise levels to ensure sufficient speech intelligibility.

Jon took the stand and delivered a passionate presentation on his mission to stop the epidemic of grassroot music venues closing due to noise complaints. He refers to these venues as the research and development of music in Britain and a reason for the worldwide success of the British music. With the Music Venue Trust, he campaigned for the “Agent of Change” bill which has now been adopted in the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) from June 2018. Jon gave striking examples of the issue’s music venues face, talking about Womanby Street in Cardiff aptly nicknamed “music street”. In particular, a case study on ‘clwb ifor back’, a long-established rock venue which could have been closed down due to plans for new residential development next door. A combination of strategic planning and campaigning ensure the venue remained open and furthermore the Council has now acquired land to assist development of Womanby Street to the benefit of ‘clwb ifor back’.

Edward then provided an overview of the planning policies and acoustic guidance at stake when trying to tackle the issues of entertainment noise for a venue near a residential scheme, or vice versa. Several noise guidance covered different aspects, but not one is strictly applicable; a combined criteria considering low frequency noise was suggested by Edward and may be a way forward. It was stressed that communication and a holistic approach is key when assessing the potential noise impact. Good practice examples were provided and the use of “Agent of Change” will offer more possibility of mitigating outside the box (in planning terms, the red line site boundary), via section 106 and third party agreements.

And finally, Richard swiftly linked the two previous presentation by providing concrete examples of work done to solve acoustic issues from a theatre with proposed residential properties above it and a night-club below a ‘purple based’ hotel brand. In both cases, a pragmatic approach was taken and solutions which worked for everyone involved was found. Richard emphasized that it is not all about reducing the overall noise levels and demonstrated the technical expertise that our acoustics team have to offer.

Please click here for more information on our Acoustic services and projects. The Team are hoping to visit another city soon with this seminar.

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