The future of The Fleece looks bright

The-FleeceThe owner of Bristol’s premiere rock and metal venue, The Fleece, hopes that its future has been secured.

The club, which has been open for 32 years, was under threat earlier this year when planning permission was sought to convert an office building opposite the site in to a block of flats. Similar projects in other areas of the country have lead to the closure of clubs when new residents start to complain of the noise.

Fleece owner Chris Sharp was unsatisfied with reports that his club would not cause a problem for potential new flat owners, and commissioned his own study. The resulting report led to the recommendation that the developers of the flats would need to ensure that additional soundproofing would be required to be installed during the building process. Sharp had already carried out soundproofing work at The Fleece.

Developers at first threatened to continue the build without the newly recommended level of soundproofing, but Bristol City Council have now branded their position a “bullying” strategy and have enforced a set of restrictions when granting approval for the flats. They include permanently sealing windows that face The Fleece, and the use of mechanical ventilation.

Additionally, developers won’t be allowed to let anyone move in to the flats until they’ve ensured noise from The Fleece doesn’t affect living standards in the building.

Said Sharp of the ruling: “This is a really positive day for our Save The Fleece campaign. We’re delighted the city council applied conditions to the approval notice, and we’re satisfied the measures will considerably reduce the likelihood of noise complaints.”

“Our fight is far from over as the developer still has the right to appeal,” he continued, “but the future of the venue is definitely looking brighter.”

Following the relaxation of planning laws in the UK, and the current noise control laws, just one complaint from a nearby resident can result in a venue’s license being revoked. Both The Blind Tiger club in Brighton and the 200 Club in Newport have closed recently as a result of similar issues.

Sharp’s “Save The Fleece Campaign” had secured around 41,500 signatories for it’s online petition aimed at ensuring the future of the club.

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Bristol rock venue The Fleece ‘under threat’

The-FleeceThe owner of legendary Bristol live music venue, The Fleece, has said that the club is under threat from closure.

Plans have been submitted to the local authority for the conversion of a nearby office block into 80 residential flats. The plans suggest that some bedrooms would be just 20 metres from The Fleece’s stage.

The venue’s supporters fear that this would lead to noise complaints and subsequent closure of the club. Similar events have played out in recent months with the closure of several British live music venues.

The Blind Tiger Club in Brighton, which had been hosting live performances for 160 years, shut down earlier this week as a result of a noise abatement order following a complaint from one neighbour. Manchester’s Night And Day was threatened with closure in January after a similar situation arose. The 200 Club in Newport was shut last year after noise complaints.

Chris Sharp, owner of The Fleece, has started an online petition to stop the conversion of the flats going ahead. You can sign it by clicking here.

Says Sharp: “”The venue has thrived for 32 years and one of the key factors in its success has been its location.

“The lack of residents in the surrounding streets has meant we can offer live music seven nights a week, and club nights until 4am on weekends, without disturbing anyone.

“The Fleece has never had any issues with noise complaints. If the office block next door is converted into private flats, we anticipate a deluge of complains as soon as people move in.”

A report commissioned by Bristol City Council concluded that The Fleece would not be the main noise concern in the area, but the club’s Marketing Manager, Nathan Stone, disagrees.

“We employed another acoustic consultant to analyse the original findings,” says Stone, “and we believe they are invalid due to a range of considerations. They didn’t look at low frequency noises and their microphones weren’t placed to identify noise coming from the venue.”

The second report also adds that balconies are planned for the part of the office block overlooking the Fleece, and that “noise levels will be unacceptably high.”

Sharp’s petition calls on Bristol City Council to deny planning permission for the flats and therefore remove the threat of closure from The Fleece. The petition has a target of 100,000 signatures, and has accrued around 19,000 to date.

You can help support Chris Sharp’s cause to save The Fleece by signing the petition here.

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