From the CapeTowner, by Monique Duval, 2nd June 2011
A Long Street couple say they have had enough and are ready to move out because of the noise from Fatback Soul, a pub which has moved in beneath their flat (“Long Street noise ‘too much’”, CapeTowner, November 4). Christiane and Johan de Villiers expressed their anger at the opening of Fatback Soul, in the space below their flat in November last year and said they were not consulted. Mr De Villiers said the mixed used building initially comprised retail shops which operated during the day and caused no disturbance. The couple say they have been fighting a losing battle with the bar’s owner for several months and at one point even tried to make a deal which would require the bar owner to keep the noise down on Wednesdays and Thursdays and allowing him to play loud music on Fridays and Saturdays. But they claim this agreement has not been kept. Mr De Villiers said the noise was so bad they now spent every weekend to Botrivier where they own a cottage. “We drive almost 120 kilometres every week to Botrivier. We go so that we can some sleep.
The bar plays music loudly from Wednesdays to Saturdays and there is no consideration for residents.“Other residents in our block have also started to complain and we have been informed Trafalgar Properties who manages the block of what is happening. We have been fighting this tooth and nail and the endless nights of no sleep is starting to affect our work. I have lived in this flat for 17 years and I love Long Street, but this issue has been going on for so long that I just want to leave for good,” he said. Mr De Villiers said sleepless nights were affecting their health. “When we do call the police and Central City Improvement District (CCID) with a complaint, the noise is reduced for a short while then turned up even higher, and the cleaning and locking up suddenly includes slamming doors and throwing bottles out in to the open courtyard ( the stairwell next to the bedroom windows of the two bottom flats), as well as repeating hooting when the owner and staff leave the premises,” Mrs De Villiers said.
Bar owner, Jeremy Phillips insisted that the establishment was not a nightclub but a bar with background music. Mr Phillips said he usually had a DJ playing and changing the music but said it was a bar. He said while people often danced there was no dance floor and the establishment was not a club. “We don’t play loud music. When police and the CCID do come out and respond to complaints, I invite them in and they always say they can’t see a problem. I am not here to piss people off, I am here to run a respectable business,” he said. Mr Phillips confirmed the agreement and said he was “sticking to it”. When asked whether he had a Health and Entertainment Licence, Mr Phillips said while it had been approved, he was told due to the elections he would only receive the documentation in August.
City Health Director, Dr Ivan Bromfield confirmed that the bar did not have a licence and said an application was first received in October last year. He said they first received noise complaints from Mrs De Villiers in November. Mrs De Villiers also said the City had taken the bar’s owner to court for trading without a licence. Dr Bromfield said: “ A written warning was issued on Monday October 25 in terms of the Noise Control Regulations. Noise level readings were attempted on Friday November 12 but no noise outbreak could be found. Noise level readings were again scheduled for Thursday November 18 but cancelled by the complainant as there was no significant noise outbreak. “On Friday December 17, noise level readings were taken from the complainant’s flat but no significant noise outbreak could be found. Council received a Noise Impact Assessment (NIA) from FatBack Soul on Monday December 20. “This NIA was rejected by the City due to fact that the survey was not done from the complainant’s premises. “A new NIA was called for but none has been received. The complaint has since been dealt with as a noise nuisance.”
While there are several clubs operating in the CBD, the CapeTowner asked City Health Director, Dr Ivan Bromfield, about the licences of these clubs.
Q. How many nightclubs are currently operating in the CBD?
A. City Health is aware of 28 premises that operate as nightclubs in the CBD.
Q. How many of them have Health and Entertainment Licences?
A. Seven of these premises have been licensed as a place of entertainment: nightclub or discotheque.
Q. How many clubs has the City taken to court in the past year for operating without a Health and Entertainment Licence?
A. The City’s Health department has taken the owners of 19 night-club premises to court for trading without a licence between May 1, 2010 and May 30 2011.
Q. How many clubs has the city taken to court in the past year for causing a noise nuisance and contravening the bylaw?
A. Of the 19 premises, three were charged with contravening both Businesses Act as well the Noise Control Regulations.
Q. If a club owner makes an application for a Health Licence and is waiting for it to be approved or rejected, are these clubs allowed to operate in the meantime? Can you please explain the reasons for this?
A. Section 2.33 of the Businesses Act stipulates that no person shall carry on a business which needs to be licensed in terms of the Act without such licence.
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