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.