Fringe Box



Boileroom To Remain Open – But Extra Conditions Imposed

Published on: 20 Sep, 2014
Updated on: 22 Sep, 2014
The Boileroom

The Boileroom

The Boileroom entertainment pub, in Stoke Fields, Guildford is to be allowed to remain open but with extra licence conditions imposed to reduce adverse effects on neighbouring residents. This was the decision by the licensing committee at Guildford Borough Council (GBC) yesterday (September 20).

A licence review meeting in the council chamber at Millmead, with many Boileroom supporters in attendance, heard from the group of residents, living closest to the venue, who had requested the licence review and from Boileroom customers and supporters.

Cllr Caroline Reeves (Lib Dem, St Nicolas & Holy Trinity) spoke on behalf of three residents who were unable to be present, reading their prepared statements. Barbara Hyde, owner of the house nearest the Boileroom, spoke on behalf of the applicants (Lisa and Rob Hopkins).

The complaints from residents centred around antisocial behaviour, particularly noise from patrons leaving and noise from the beer garden.  There was also claims of vomit on pavements, urinating and defecation in nearby gardens.

The meeting heard a recording of noise from the Boileroom, music and words of songs clearly heard from the garden of a neighbouring house in Artillery Terrace in spite of closed doors and windows.

Supporters of the Bolieroom denied that there were any problems. They claimed the venue was well managed and shouldn’t be closed. That was not the point of the review, BR needs to work within terms of its licence.

The Licensing Committee, chaired by Cllr Gordon Jackson (Con, Pirbright) and supported by licensing, environmental health and legal officers decided that the following extra conditions should be imposed:

  • Pub garden to close earlier, 10.30pm Mon-Thurs, 11.00 Friday Saturday. 10.00 on Sunday
  • Marshals, in hi-vis jackets to conduct checks of the garden every 15 minutes when up to 50 people on garden. One marshal to be present continuously when 50 – 100 people are in the garden and two marshals if the number is 100-200 people
  • Reduction of the noise level limiter by  two decibels (to be reviewed annually)
  • Volume to be decreased thirty minures before closing time.

Cllr Reeves said after the meeting: “I’m pleased that the concerns of the residents living closest to the Boileroom were acknowledged and hope that with the additional conditions that have been agreed I will no longer have residents contacting me regularly to complain about problems caused by the venue.

“As the committee chairman said, the additional angst that was created by the petitions to stop the Boileroom being closed was unnecessary. This was never the intention of the residents.”

Richard Wilson, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Guildford, who campaigned on behalf of the Boileroom said: “I met at length with both sides in the Boileroom dispute. Tellingly, I think I was the only person to do so. I listened carefully to everything I was told and I came to the conclusion that this dispute was never really about noise, or any other licensing factor. The root of this conflict was a relationship between neighbours which had broken down.

“By the time I was involved, the unfortunate licensing review had already been initiated and both sides were in their trenches. Now that the battle is over there is an opportunity for skilled patient mediation by community leaders to bring the parties together and repair the relationship.
“The licensing review served no purpose. It caused months of heartache to Boileroom staff, performers and fans. The additional conditions it applied are already being abided to by the Boileroom and were offered by them at the start of the hearing. The review cost tens of thousands of pounds of public money and, unfairly, many thousands to the Boileroom. The review was used as a weapon by a few neighbours in this personal dispute. There were never any material grounds for this review and the neighbours were extremely badly advised to bring it. It was damaging, speculative and unnecessary and the relationship between the parties is now worse than ever.
“About six months ago, a small number of residents were advised, wrongly, that they could have the Boileroom closed down by using the licence review process. They explicitly stated in their submissions to the review that closing the venue was their objective. If I had been approached for advice in March I would have discouraged applying for the review and instead tried to bring the combatants together. That is the only way to end this war permanently.
“It has been a privilege to meet everyone connected with the Boileroom. It is a wonderful small enterprise, described by the chair of the licensing review as “extremely well managed”. The council’s officers stressed how cooperative the owner has been. One officer said he wished he could get from other venues in Guildford half of the cooperation he received from the Boileroom management. There was a huge diversity of supporters for the Boileroom at the packed hearing. I met someone who reads his poetry there to an audience. There is no other venue in Guildford like this. People shed tears when describing how important it is to them.
“The Boileroom is a precious part of Guildford’s cultural community. If I can do any more to help mediate in the broken relationship with some neighbours, I confirm I will be available to do so. We need to find a lasting peace because this venue is irreplaceable and very very much loved.”


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