Fringe Box



Letter: Boileroom – Taliban Comparison Is Irresponsible

Published on: 8 Jul, 2014
Updated on: 8 Jul, 2014

Boileroom LetterFrom Ashley Harrison

As a long-standing resident of the residential neighbourhood in which The Boileroom operates, and as a council-tax paying home-owner, I am extremely shocked and disappointed by the way in which the venue’s management has responded to a request for a licence review.

Any licenced premises in the UK is required to comply with the terms of its licence, as defined by both national law and local council regulations.

In this instance there have been ongoing concerns over breaches of the licence which have had a major and long-term detrimental impact upon many of the Boileroom’s neighbours. All of the neighbours who have requested the review have acted legitimately and within their legal rights, following the correct process.

The Boileroom management chose to respond by launching a highly emotive, misleading petition on the national website, ‘’. They stated that people were trying to close the venue down and effectively kill off live music in Guildford. This is blatantly untrue and frankly silly – but it has led to a vicious online campaign of misinformation and bullying which has targeted specific residents, several of whom have children and families.

This has led to several residents feeling threatened and frightened in their own homes (including very young and school age children) and the police becoming involved.

Is that really how a professional licensee, holding a position of public responsibility, should be expected to act towards their community, who they profess to care so much about?

Richard Wilson, on his public website, states that: “It is very disappointing that selfish neighbours can launch this speculative application to review the licence and cause so much heart-ache to so many people…The Taliban try to stamp out singing and music, let’s stand up against their equivalent in Guildford!”

Seriously? He is comparing a group of local people – including potential Labour voters, mind you – to the Taliban? Richard Wilson is a prospective parliamentary candidate, asking the public to vote him into a responsible position of trust. Using inflammatory, misleading language such as this strikes me as highly irresponsible and dangerous.

I would ask all Guildford Dragon readers this: If you needed to request a legal, legitimate review of a premises that was having a negative impact on your children, and your neighbourhood, how would you expect to be treated?

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Responses to Letter: Boileroom – Taliban Comparison Is Irresponsible

  1. Robin Whittleton Reply

    July 8, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    While the Boileroom’s petition might have been emotive, this is their livelihood we’re talking about. Their actions have also been legitimate and within their legal rights. A removal of their licence that they’ve fought hard for would shut a valued venue that provides a respected service for the local community.

    While I have no idea as to whether they’ve complied with their existing licence requirements (and I’ll leave that up to the council to decide) there’s certainly a reason for people to express their positive opinions about the venue.

    Having said that, there’s never any excuse for threatening behaviour from either side and anything that steps over the boundaries of legality should be dealt with by the police.

  2. Nick Clarke Reply

    July 8, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    I can see both sides of this. I like having a live music venue nearby. However neighbours must be treated with respect. The boileroom must take action and get people to stop any bad behaviour immediately.

  3. Ashley Harrison Reply

    July 9, 2014 at 7:37 am

    In response to Robin Whittleton and Nick Clarke – thank you, I think we’re in violent agreement!

    I also like having live music venues within easy access (and am a very regular attender of various local venues) – and I support local businesses. That’s why I choose to live in a very central location.

    I should have pointed out that out that many of the Boileroom’s neighbours are also liberally-minded people, working in the creative industries (including film, theatre, photography, art and music) so as a community we are by no means averse!

    However, as you correctly state, the Boileroom management do have a responsibility towards their neighbours (who are in very close proximity) and the behaviour of their patrons, which has been whipped up by their own actions.

    All their neighbours are asking is for them to ensure that they are complying with their licence; to the best of my knowledge, having spoken to many of my neighbours, no-one is trying to “close them down” and ruin their livelihood; they just want everyone’s rights to be respected.

  4. Jim Allen Reply

    July 9, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Not sure what all the fuss is about, noise or people? But it has a ring of the Golden Palace in Cranleigh over ten years ago.

    We objected to their noise levels at 1am in the morning, every Saturday night and across every night during Christmas from early December. It was so bad that eventually, after some extremely strong threats, and someone actually cutting the speaker wires, silencers were put over the open ventilation ducts and windows were locked shut and double glazed. As a result the noise problem ceased.

    Perhaps a similar solution could be achieved at the Boileroom? If the problem is the behaviour of their customers then clearly constant reminders are required that ‘enjoyment’ and ‘excess’ ends at the exit door. Perhaps this could help solve the situation for the local residents without the need for the AK47’s and explosive comments from both sides?

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