Protecting Nightime Economy Requires a change in Noise Law

Evening Standard

A historic West End cinema is facing closure in a row over soundproofing for flats being built above.

Noise from films played at Curzon in Mayfair can be heard on the two floors above, according to the developers of the properties, which are likely to fetch more than £2 million each.

Developers 38 Curzon Ltd are converting office space into four flats above the cinema’s home since 1934 on Curzon Street, where star-studded film premieres are regularly held.

But they want the cinema to foot the £500,000 bill for soundproofing work, which the Curzon cannot afford and would “never obtain approval for as the auditorium and surrounding walls are listed”, according to its director of cinema development Rob Kenny.

The deadlock has resulted in a legal “action for forfeiture”, meaning the cinema faces surrendering its lease and vacating the building.

Exactly the kind of case Sadiq Khan is trying to tighten Policy on

Khan proposes to protect bars and clubs from being closed down over noise complaints by introducing the “agent of change” principle, which would place the cost of soundproofing on housing developers rather than venues. “This is a simple measure but will have a massive effect on smaller, independent bars and clubs who often aren’t able to afford the costs involved,” he said.

But that isn’t enough for two reasons.  Firstly change of uses to offices could be PD, secondly the resident could complain of a statutory noise nuisance.

The change requires a change to the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to place the burden of remedying a statutory nuisance on the agent of change, i.e. the residential developer,


One thought on “Protecting Nightime Economy Requires a change in Noise Law

  1. Since the 6 April Class O of the GDPO requires LPA’s to consider noise for conversions of B1 (a) Offices to residential although it doesn’t help for sites where notifications have already been accepted (In a case of a listed building, these rights dont apply anyway). Where planning permission is needed, surely the conditions would require the insulation to be installed before anyone moves in?

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