Noise complaints may put Hunstanton theatre at risk, boss says

Princess Theatre Hunstanton ENGANL00120110311091605
Princess Theatre Hunstanton ENGANL00120110311091605

A member of the team behind the rejuvenation of the theatre in Hunstanton has raised concerns about noise complaints affecting its future.

Brian Hallard, who is one of the partners who took over the town’s Princess Theatre in 2012, said that after an offer to help purchase sound-proof doors fell through, he has concerns that noise issues may arise in the future.

Mr Hallard said that retirment home developer McCarthy and Stone had told him it would be prepared to discuss upgrading the exit doors on the rear façade of the theatre in 2014, prior to the developer building a block of apartments opposite to the theatre.

At the time, the theatre partner said McCarthy and Stone had approached him in the first instance, before the Hamon Court apartment complex was developed, after he had made objections to the planning inspectorate about the development.

He said: “I objected to the plans as the theatre would potentially cause noise issues to the residents of the flats.”

But Mr Hallard said in July the developer told him that, as the objection was not withdrawn prior to the appeal, and therefore evidence had to be given as part of that process, the offer no longer stood.

A spokesman for McCarthy and Stone has said that the deal was only on the table while it was believed that noise mitigation measures might be needed, but that is no longer the case.

Now Mr Hallard is concerned that once residents move in to the nearby flats, complaints about noise will be made.

Mr Hallard said: “All I worry about is the theatre, I took it on over three years ago and it is becoming a thriving business in the town. It’s a nice place to be, and has brought the town back to life.

“But if a lot of people complained about noise next door, then I would be concerned. Venues have been closing down all over the place because of noise.”

Mr Hallard cited an article from The Guardian, published last year, which states that a number of live music venues across the country have been forced to close in recent years.

The article, written by Jamie Doward, states that a common concern for venues is an “increasingly hostile environment”.

He adds: “The pressure to build more housing has seen blocks of flats built next to clubs, causing a rise in noise-abatement notices that can cost thousands of pounds to contest.”

Mark Wright, regional managing director at McCarthy and Stone East Midlands, said: “When applying for planning permission for our Hamon Court development in Hunstanton in 2014, we liaised with the Princess Theatre on the potential provision of acoustic doors in case noise mitigation measures would be required.

“Upon granting planning permission for Hamon Court, the planning inspectorate decided no noise mitigation measures were required either onsite or offsite, hence we have decided not to go ahead with the purchase of acoustic doors for the theatre.”