Manchester’s Night & Day hit back at “incomprehensible” legal battle with council as they return to court

Night & Day

Manchester’s Night & Day Cafe venue have returned to court following a noise abatement notice they received from Manchester City Council in 2021.

The small venue was threatened by a noise complaint in 2021 from a new resident who had moved to Manchester during lockdown. It came after the venue won a hard-fought battle against a separate noise complaint back in 2014.

Amid months of petitioning and fundraising for the venue and messages of support from acts local to or with strong connections to Manchester including Elbow’s Guy Garvey and The 1975’s Matty Healy doing the rounds, Night & Day remains in danger of closure due to a planning file for the redevelopment of a nearby building.

In November, a court heard that the closure of Night & Day Cafe would be a “national scandal”.

Night & Day now return to court to continue to appeal the notice, with a two date hearing starting on March 21 at Manchester Magistrates Court.

At this hearing, the judge will decide whether to uphold or drop the notice and the venue will hear the judge’s decision sometime after.

Venue owner Jennifer Smithson – who owns the venue alongside her husband Ben – said: “We believe that the source of this issue is that when MCC Planning approved the building of flats next to Night & Day there was no consideration to the neighbouring pre-existing music venue.

“Consideration of noise was one of the planning conditions specified by MCC Planning department with the developer and is held on public record at MCC Planning portal.”

She continued: “An initial acoustic report recommended that an additional second report be conducted that addressed any noise ingress from the venue into the flat. This report was never commissioned and the development was signed off. Within the initial acoustic report the complainant’s flat in particular was identified as being at risk from noise ingress – before the flats were even built.

‌“To make matters even more incomprehensible, since the abatement notice was issued and the complainant has moved out of their flat, there have been no further noise complaints. It’s simply unacceptable for MCC to continue the premise that the responsibility for this planning mistake lies with the developer or builder.

‌”We just want to get on with our lives and our business and keep Night & Day alive for the benefit and enjoyment of everyone in Manchester and beyond.”

Night & Day
A gig at Manchester’s Night & Day. Credit: Ben Smithson

Responding to their claims, a spokesperson for Manchester City Council told NME: “The Council has sought throughout this process, for more than a year, to reach an amicable solution with Night & Day which enables them to remain commercially viable while recognising the needs of residents and our legal obligations.

“We remain absolutely committed to this goal but with a court hearing pending it would not be appropriate for us to comment further on this specific case.

“The city’s music venues are an important part of the fabric of the city, playing a vital role in the night-time economy and in creating opportunities for new artists.

“We will shortly be announcing details of a major new independent review into Manchester’s grassroots music venues and how the Council and its partners can better support and champion them while being considerate of residents and businesses and the Council’s legal responsibilities.”

‌Elsewhere, Night & Day was recently shortlisted for a prestigious Music Week ‘Best Grassroots Venue in the UK’ award.

They’re up against Brudenell Social Club in Leeds, The Globe in Newcastle, Sheffield’s Leadmill, Boileroom in Guildford, Dubrek Studios in Derby, Glasgow’s King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Le Pub in Newport, the Trinity Centre in Bristol and the Windmill in Brixton. Voting is open here.

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