Audley end muted by licensing decision

PUBLISHED: 08:15 05 January 2006 | UPDATED: 20:09 28 May 2010

AUDLEY End House will not open as late as planned after nearby residents voiced their objections at a licensing meeting. English Heritage had applied for permission to hold live music both inside the house and outside in marquees until midnight from Monda

AUDLEY End House will not open as late as planned after nearby residents voiced their objections at a licensing meeting.

English Heritage had applied for permission to hold live music both inside the house and outside in marquees until midnight from Monday to Saturday, but Uttlesford District Council's licensing committee decided these events should finish at 11pm.

A further stipulation was made that the Jacobean mansion could hold no more than 12 outdoor music events annually.

The organisation, which promotes and protects England's historic environment including Audley End House, also failed to get a non-standard hours extension for weddings and private functions to 1.30am.

The committee decided instead to restrict the non-standard opening hours to 12.30am.

Other restrictions in Audley End's new licence were on the sale of alcohol, which will cease at 11.30pm from Monday to Saturday and midnight for non-standard hours, although English Heritage had applied for midnight and 1.30am.

Despite this, an extension was granted for the standard hours of 10am to midnight for the performance of dance and re-enactments and a condition was attached that regular assessments were made to make sure the amplified sound was not escaping the estate's grounds.

Many of those opposed to English Heritage's plans were disturbed by noise from the outdoor music events and did not want them to continue until the early hours of the morning.

Following the meeting, Littlebury resident Lizzie Sanders said she was relieved at the licensing decision, but hesitated to describe it as a victory.

She said: "I don't want to talk about it in terms of victories. Everyone around here adores Audley End and it is painful to us to complain, but we would all like a good nights sleep.

"I think the committee have done as well as they could."

The residents who attended the licence hearing just before Christmas recalled one corporate event at the mansion in September when the sound was unbearably loud.

Zofia Everett, of Gibson Gardens, Saffron Walden said she could not have a conversation because of the sound and could not hear the radio or the television.

She said: "It showed the total disrespect and arrogance of English Heritage in the way they treat the residents of Uttlesford.

"The level of noise is utterly unacceptable."

Solicitor Stephen Graham, who represented English Heritage, said the corporate event took place before the new licensing laws were introduced at the end of November and the regulations were there to prevent a repeat of the disturbance.

He said Audley End would not be holding the sort of events associated with the drunken anti-social behaviour the licensing laws were trying to prevent.

"The types of events envisaged are not a disco or nightclub type.

"It is not the intention to hold events which are termed vertical drinking events, getting as many people in as you can and getting them as drunk as you can," Mr Graham said.

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