The Caxton Arms in North Gardens has been known for some time as a quiet community pub in a residential street. In May this year it was taken over by a new management team and its character has changed. It has become much busier and the new managers are making full use of the 1 am licence on Fridays and Saturdays. This means that crowds of people are coming into North Gardens late at night. With drinking up time and then the time to clear the street there is often noise through until 2.00am.
The major problem is the noise produced by large numbers of smokers standing outside the pub in the street. They are in the pub to drink and enjoy themselves, and this carries on while they are smoking outside. Because there are so many customers there now the noise level is sufficient to wake neighbours and disturb sleep.
Several neighbours have spoken to the managers about this problem but it is difficult to see a solution. The pub has a licence to stay open late and is in business to sell alcohol. The smokers have to go somewhere, and there is nowhere else but the street. Many residents were surprised to discover that this pub in a quiet back street actually does have a licence to stay open so late, particularly since pubs in busy main roads around the station close earlier.
A couple of us have spoken with officials in the Licensing Team at Brighton Council. Apparently if we gather ‘robust evidence’ of a great enough nuisance there is a chance of reviewing the licence. But they warned that this rarely happens. There is a sense of despair for some neighbours. One wrote:
My migraines have gone to being daily – certainly not helped by the lack of sleep I have been getting because of the stress of this matter. I have been left with no choice but to move into the spare room at the back of the house and will have no choice but to move house when our tenancy is up.”
We would be very interested to know if any Whistler readers are similarly affected by noise nuisance from pubs in the area with late night licences. We believe that Brighton Council has a duty to protect the right of residents to have peace and quiet after 11pm. Despite fine sounding phrases in its ‘Statement of Licensing Policy’, and the so-called Cumulative Impact Zone, this is not currently happening in North Gardens. I would be pleased to hear from readers at email@example.com or comment on this article.
Dr Keith Sharpe