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Thousands rally to support Palmers Green pub threatened with losing licence

Live gigs have been cancelled at The Fox after noise complaints led Enfield Council to review its premises licence, reports James Cracknell

The Fox pub and (inset) covers band Redriffe playing there last year
The Fox pub and (inset) covers band Redriffe playing there last year

Almost 2,000 people have signed a petition in support of a Palmers Green pub that could lose its licence following local noise complaints.

The Fox in Green Lanes, which reopened in February last year after a major refurbishment, has paused all its live music events after being threatened with losing its premises licence by Enfield Council.

Several residents living in the newly-built block of flats adjoining the pub have complained to the council over noise levels from the pub, prompting a review of its licence.

The Dispatch understands that an upcoming sub-licence committee hearing, on a date to be confirmed, will now decide whether The Fox can keep its premises licence.

Pub manager James Sharkey said: “The Fox is not just an ordinary pub; it is an integral part of our cultural fabric that brings together people from all walks of life through its music events.

“Stripping away its music licence will not only diminish our rich cultural heritage but will also lead to economic disadvantages for Palmers Green.”

The Fox has been hosting regular live music nights, as well as various other entertainment, for the last year. Among the acts to play there have been rock act Redriffe. The cover band’s drummer Neil Littman told the Dispatch: ““I have been playing in various bands for over 40 years and think live music is important to the local community and brings people together and encourages other musicians to aspire to playing in front of an audience.

“Following our debut at The Fox, we were offered two further gigs of which one has unfortunately already been cancelled […] I think this is a shame as in times of economic hardship, it is important for venues like The Fox to demonstrate they are a community asset and demonstrate their value to the area.”

The Dispatch has seen a copy of the application to review The Fox’s premises licence, which states: “The prevention of public nuisance licensing objective has been undermined: a statutory nuisance abatement notice has been served and subsequently breached.

“This is in relation to the considerable number of noise complaints received from local residents, who are being disturbed by live and recorded music, from The Fox.”


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The complaints detailed on the application state that residents are being kept awake on Friday and Saturday nights because of noise from the pub and that they could “even hear the hand dryers in the toilets”.

On one occasion last September, “lyrics to Sweet Caroline could be heard very clearly and was evident that the audience were also singing along”.

Following an inspection from a noise officer, they “observed that it appeared that there was no or very little sound insulation between the pub and the flats”.

The Dispatch asked the developer of the One Fox Lane residential scheme, Dominus, to clarify whether soundproofing had been installed when the development was built in 2022. A spokesperson said: “The One Fox Lane flats were constructed with acoustic insulation, fully compliant with performance standards and building regulations.

“Nevertheless, we empathise with the concerns voiced by the community on both sides. We have been actively engaging in dialogue and taking actions with stakeholders to explore additional measures that could further alleviate this issue, for instance adjusting the positioning of The Fox pub’s sound system, all with the aim of fostering a harmonious coexistence between vibrant cultural spaces like The Fox and the tranquillity of residential living.”

Residents who wish to comment on The Fox’s premises licence review can do so before 15th January by providing their address and emailing [email protected]. The petition in support of The Fox is also available via Change.org:
Visit
change.org/p/preserve-the-fox-s-music-license-for-the-benefit-of-palmers-green

Update (11th January):

An Enfield Council spokesperson said: “We recognise that music and entertainment can play an important role for pubs and other similar premises. However, we must also be mindful of the impact on local people and take appropriate action if complaints are made.

“In regard to the Fox Pub in Palmers Green, Enfield Council received a considerable number of noise complaints from local residents. Following investigations, noise officers concluded that the premises are currently not suitable for music other than at a background level as the sound insulation in the building is simply not adequate.

“A statutory nuisance abatement notice was served and breached. Therefore, Enfield Council has submitted a review application under the Licensing Act 2003 of the premises licence to address the issues caused by the music, which will be determined by the licensing sub-committee.”


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