Palmers Green pub told it can keep licence if it installs ‘noise limiter device’

The Fox had been subject to several noise complaints from neighbours but has survived a threat to its licence, reports Grace Howarth, Local Democracy Reporter

The Fox has become a popular live music venue since reopening last year
The Fox has become a popular live music venue since reopening last year

A Palmers Green pub subject to noise complaints from neighbours will be able to stay open if it installs a noise limiter device, councillors have agreed.

A licencing sub-committee heard yesterday (Wednesday 7th) during a premises licence review for The Fox in Green Lanes that the pub had been subject to twelve noise complaints between June 2023 and January this year.

Complaints had come from residents at the newly-built block of flats, One Fox Lane, which directly adjoins the pub. This had prompted the licence review and led to live music events being cancelled this year – but more than 2,000 people later signed a petition to save the pub’s premises licence.

Local residents and neighbours affected by the noise were represented at the meeting along with representatives for The Fox.

Austin Whelan of Whelan’s Pubs, which runs The Fox, said manager James Sharkey had taken the situation “quite hard” with Austin telling him to “have ten days away”.

Austin claimed he’d “never had” these problems at any of the other pub sites his company operated and said: “I’ve invested £500,000 in this property, so this isn’t a good experience for me in any format.”

The Fox underwent major refurbishment before reopening in February 2023, for the first time in five years, under the new management of Whelan’s Pubs.

Austin said he understood the residents’ position and mentioned the pressure of having his character questioned, and that this situation was “causing us all problems”.

He said: “From a management point of view I think we’ve done a very, very good job, we’ve got something there when there hasn’t been for a long time. We’ve put stability back in the community, we’ve got a function that’s there for the whole community, that’s why it’s kept its licence.”

Doug Taylor, the ward councillor for Palmers Green, said he took into account the views of residents at One Fox Lane as well as residents who did not want to see the pub close.

Cllr Taylor said it would be “unacceptable” for residents to continue to experience the noise levels recorded and that it should be in the committee’s interest to “prioritise” their complaints. 

While the Labour councillor said he “welcomed” a trial of the noise limiter device proposed by the pub’s management, he added this may not resolve all noise issues and that “some extra sound proofing” on top of the noise limiter may be “required”.

Announcing the decision for The Fox to retain its licence, committee chair Mahym Bedekova said: “The licencing sub-committee reminds the applicant [that] if the issues continue concerning noise nuisance or other breaches to the licencing conditions, these matters maybe brought for further review.”