Night & Day Cafe to remain open after court battle over noise

By Ben Arnold | Last updated 19 March 2024

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The Night & Day Cafe will continue to operate as a late-night venue, following a court case over noise that has lasted more than three years.

The renowned Oldham Street venue has been fighting against a Noise Abatement Notice that it was served by the City Council in 2021, following noise complaints from the adjacent apartment building.

Hearings over whether the notice would be lifted or remain in place concluded in January, with the ruling coming in today.

While the abatement notice will stay in place, it will be amended to implement reduced noise levels which were put forward to the court by a sound expert who was appointed by the owners of the Night & Day.

Speaking about the decision, the Night & Day said in a statement: “We are delighted that the Noise Abatement Notice has been amended in favour of @nightanddaycafe with the judge agreeing to the noise levels that we offered to @ManCityCouncil in June 2023 as part of joint testing and negotiations.

Elbow at Night & Day Cafe 30th anniversary
Guy Garvey at Night & Day’s 30th birthday

“This means we can continue with the club nights that N&D and other live music venues are so dependent on. DJ club nights contribute to developing the raw, amazing talent and emerging live music scene that grace our stage, Manchester and beyond.

“Although N&D has won, we’re disappointed with today’s judgement as the venue will have to adjust our club nights to suit an occupier of what is a defective apartment.

“MCC Planning approved the apartment back in 2000 in full knowledge that there would be serious potential for noise problems in this flat and before any resident moved in. Today’s decision has huge implications for other Manchester night time industries and operators.

“We want to really thank all of our supporters in Manchester and beyond and every single person that has stood up and shouted for us. Without your incredible support we couldn’t have done this.”

The judge overseeing the decision, District Judge Margaret McCormack, noted that the brunt of the noise nuisance was down to the venue’s clubnight events on Fridays and Saturdays, which run up to its 3am licence. 

“In an ideal world, a balance would be able to be struck in the ability of the resident to enjoy their property and the venue to operate as a going concern. Sadly, due to a faulty party wall this is not possible,” she said.

Sound limiters will now be implemented on Fridays and Saturdays to contain the sound during club events, with the venue having 28 days to make the required changes.

It wasn’t the first time the venue had been hit with noise complaints. It was also threatened with closure in 2014.

After it was served with the noise abatement notice in 2021, nearly 100,000 people signed a petition pleading to keep it open, with famous musicians including Johnny Marr, Tim Burgess and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey among its most vocal supporters.

Manchester City Council said: “We are glad that this case has reached a conclusion, although it is regrettable that despite many attempts it could not have been amicably resolved prior to Night & Day bringing this court case.

“The Council has never sought to close Night & Day and very much want it to remain open and continue to play an active role in Manchester’s music scene.

“Over many months numerous meetings have taken place where we have sought to reach an amicable resolution with the venue, through negotiation and offering compromise, to agree acceptable sound levels which would allow us to uphold our legal duties and the venue to continue to thrive.

“It is as a last resort and extremely rare for us to issue a noise abatement notice. Manchester’s music venues overwhelmingly live in harmony with their neighbours and while complaints and issues are not uncommon, they are almost always resolved through dialogue.

“We welcome the judge’s ruling that Night & Day should use a noise limiter. The use of a limiter was a solution we proposed – and the judgement makes clear that our officers acted correctly in investigating the noise complaints in line with the Council’s legal responsibilities.

“We hope that we can all move forward from this unfortunate episode and we wish to work constructively with the venue.”

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