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Fears a big noise in music could go flat

By Western Daily Press  |  Posted: May 24, 2014

By Philippa Jenkins

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The list of bands that have played The Fleece is a roll-call of the best British music of the past three decades.

Yet the Bristol music pub fears that track record will count for nothing if proposals for a development of luxury flats is approved.

The flats, planned for an old office block on Victoria Street in the city centre, would place bedrooms within 20 metres (65 feet) of bands playing The Fleece.

And pub owner Chris Sharp fears that potential residents of those luxury flats will have little truck with late-night live music, which in the past has included acts such as Oasis and Amy Winehouse.

He set up an online petition on Thursday calling for Bristol City Council to turn down the plans and within 12 hours it gained 17,000 signatures.

Mr Sharp said: "The Fleece has thrived as a venue for 32 years. One of the key factors in its success is its location.

"The lack of residents in the surrounding streets has meant the venue has been able to offer live music seven nights per week and club nights until 4am at weekends without disturbing anyone.

"During its entire history The Fleece has not had any issues with noise complaints.

"If the huge office block located right next door is given the green light to be converted into approximately 80 privately-owned flats we would anticipate a deluge of complaints as soon as people move in.

"Obviously people living there will be out at work all week and then be here at the weekends when all the music is playing. They would easily have 12 solid hours of it on Friday and Saturday.

"When we are sold out we have 450 people here and that is something we have built up again since it's glory days in the 1980s and 1990s. That is why we have such a following. We just want to get the application to planning committee at least and ensure if it has to go ahead all the planning conditions that can be put in place are."

Developer Edenlaw Ltd was granted a change of use from offices to residential last November but the council was unable to take noise into account during the process.

A noise survey carried out on behalf of the developer said the Fleece had been "identified as a source of noise affecting the proposed development" but claimed glazed windows would insulate most of the sound from the venue.

Council planners are due to vote on proposed external alterations to the plans, including changes to the facade and the addition of balconies, at the end of the month.

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