A WEYMOUTH Esplanade bar has had its license revoked after neighbors challenged the way it was being run.
They claimed the Sunset Bar made their lives intolerable with loud music and rowdy behavior.
It was also claimed that they were ridiculed and subjected to abuse as well as witnessing fights in the street outside.
Their courage in challenging the license was praised by councilors who decided the only option was to revoke the premises license.
The process of challenging a license is open to anyone who believes a licensed business is not being run in a proper way.
Dorset Police backed the residents application saying that the premises, under the name of Edmon Ltd, was already under investigation by them over claims of possible drug dealing and violence between rival groups.
Three neighbors living above the premises said with loud music, often continuing beyond the permitted cut off at midnight, 11pm on Sundays, their ability to sleep, watch television or carry out a normal conversation in their homes had been limited, especially on Fridays and Saturday evenings.
Five other people who either live or work in the area had also made statements about disturbance from the premises.
A council environmental health officer who visited the bar said that the music was so loud she was unable to have a conversation – and a letter to the license holder failed to get any response.
She said that the music levels made the flats above ‘unliveable.’ A level of 98 decibels had been recorded on the dance floor. Hearing loss is said to be possible at 85 decibels.
One of the residents said he had been promised several times that the volume would be reduced and efforts would be made to tackle noise from people using an outside terrace – but nothing had changed.
Letters from those living nearby claimed antisocial behavior outside the premises included drunkenness, fighting and drug taking.
It was also claimed that people staying in nearby hotels were intimidated when walking past the premises or waiting at a bus stop which serves the park and ride and the Littlemoor area. Several hotel guests had been reported as saying that they would not return to Weymouth.
One of the residents living above the bar said the bass from the music system was so loud that his windows would shake and that the behavior of those inside the premises included shouting, singing and swearing. He asked councilors to stop the bar from being able to play music and to reduce their license to sell alcohol to between 9am and 8pm so that he and the other residents could use their homes as they were intended.
The premises had previously been a fish and chip shop and then a café/bar which closed in the early evening.
An elderly couple who live above said they had contacted the license holder from February 2022 onwards and visited several times to ask for the music to be turned down but were told by a manager that they only had four hours to attract customers and the music would stay at the volume it was.
The couple claimed that they had been sworn at and ridiculed for asking for the level to be reduced and from May 2022 it became even louder forcing them out of their home on some evenings or sitting up until beyond midnight in their kitchen where the noise was slightly less
Councilors on the licensing sub committee heard that family or friends could not visit in the evenings due to the noise and the couple had canceled a family celebration because they could not have people staying overnight due to the disturbance.
After collecting evidence, Dorset Council served a Noise Abatement Notice on the premises on August 1 – but it had not produced the desired effect.
Sergeant Gareth Gosling from Dorset Police said that it was unusual for residents to seek a review themselves as it was a daunting prospect. Praising their courage he said it showed the degree to which they were affected by the operation of the premises.
Solicitor, Jeremy Woodcraft, for the license holder, appealed for a solution which fell short of revoking the license saying the business was prepared to change.
He said that acoustic glass had been installed which showed the willingness of his client to address the issues and that a professional acoustic company had been instructed to carry out a survey. The business had also offered not to play live or recorded music until a noise management plan was produced and agreed with Environmental Protection officers and had also offered to close the outside area at 10pm. Councilors on the panel decided that there was “a significant level of noise nuisance caused by live/recorded music played at the premises, together with noise and anti-social behavior from customers in the external area and immediately outside.”
Their report noted that the license holder and premises supervisor did not attend the hearing and the panel were also critical of a manager who had told visiting council officials and the police to leave when they came to inspect it.
The decision can be subject to an appeal to Weymouth Magistrates Court within 21 days.