Manchester’s Night & Day venue to face court case and potential closure

"This a shameful disgrace and we are furious," Elbow's Guy Garvey said of a new development that follows a noise complaint made last year

Manchester’s Night & Day venue is set to face a court case next month over a noise complaint that could see its closure.

Last year, the small venue was threatened by a noise complaint 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.

According to a new press statement, the venue is now in danger again due to a planning file for the redevelopment of a nearby building.

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The statement read: “In a critical new development to the story and after receiving a copy of the planning file for the redevelopment of the building next door where the complainant lived, the owners of Night & Day were shocked to find that a crucial acoustic report had not been provided, nor acoustic works completed to the development before it was occupied.

“This was a condition of the planning consent for conversion of the building next door, to ensure that residents were not disturbed by noise from pre-existing businesses in the area.”

As a result, Night & Day will face a court case from November 29 – December 1. Fans are encouraged to sign a petition here to help save the venue, and use the hashtag #savenightandday.

In response, a spokesperson for Manchester City Council said: “It must be made explicitly clear from the outset that the Council has never threatened to close down this venue, nor is there any legislation which would allow a Noise Abatement Notice to be used to close a premises. 

“It is important to reiterate throughout this process extensive discussions have taken place to try and address the statutory noise nuisance which was the sole reason a Noise Abatement Notice (NAN) was served.

“The Council is, and remains, supportive of the music scene in Manchester which Night and Day has championed, but we have to comply with our duties in respect of statutory nuisance. It is also important to state that the source of complaints regarding this venue relate to very loud music played into the early hours of the morning and not live band performances.

“The Council’s planning records show that an acoustic report was provided during the development of surrounding units, and the Council completely rejects any suggestion that planning conditions were not met.

“The Council will continue to work towards an amicable resolution where the noise nuisance is fully addressed.”

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

Speaking of the new developments, Manchester native and Elbow frontman Guy Garvey said: “This a shameful disgrace and we are furious. Manchester’s music and arts are things we all share and are rightfully proud of. The council and its politicians, its football teams and its universities all use our music in proud promotion.

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“Night & Day has taken hundreds of Manchester artists from bedrooms and garages to the world stage. The vibrant scene started by Night & Day triggered enormous redevelopment in what we now call the Northern Quarter and making all this happen is a constant bill to bill balancing act. That this corner stone of our city’s culture is under attack again is bewildering.”

Venue owner Jennifer Smithson added: “We were one of the founding businesses in the development of the Northern Quarter, people wanted to move here because of vibrant, interesting places like Night & Day which is great and it’s really enhanced the area.

“What is particularly galling is that the planning department knew about the potential for noise disturbance from Night & Day when it issued the planning consent to turn the warehouse next door into residential flats. A separate acoustic report was required to establish what could be done to prevent noise from Night & Day impacting residents of the building. However, no separate acoustic report was ever prepared by the developer and the planning department allowed the building to be occupied without suitable acoustic insulation works.

Smithson added: “We now have to either accept the noise abatement notice, which will put us at risk of immediate prosecution in the event of noise complaints, or go to court at significant expense to appeal it. This could mean the end of Night & Day forever. It’s a nightmare.”

“It’s just so unfair. We believe that the fault lies squarely with Manchester City Council. They could cancel the noise abatement notice and rectify the problem that they originally caused, rather than close down a business that’s been the beating heart of the Manchester music scene for decades.”

elbow
Elbow’s Guy Garvey. CREDIT: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

In a statement responding to the news, the Music Venue Trust said: “The refusal by Manchester City Council to overturn the Noise Abatement Notice issued to the iconic music venue Night & Day Cafe presents a very simple, clear, understandable and practical example for the UK’s music community.

“Either Manchester wants to be the proud home of British music or it doesn’t. With all respect to everyone in the City leadership, no amount of music boards, commissions, supportive statements, or well intentioned political positions will change the reality.

“Either Manchester City Council act to Save the Night & Day or they should just take down the billboards, switch off the marketing, drop the pretense, and prepare to close up shop on music.

“If Manchester cannot protect the Night & Day it isn’t a Music City.”

MVT STATEMENT ON THE NIGHT & DAY,The refusal by Manchester City Council to overturn the Noise Abatement Notice issued…

Posted by Music Venue Trust on Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Elsewhere in Garvey’s statement, he said that Manchester City Council “needs to drop this charge immediately and get this family business out from under the swinging anvil of closure for good.

“There are many that consider the stress of this situation may have hastened our friend Jan’s early death and for his daughter’s family to be under that same stress for a second time on account of council fumbling ineptitude and can-kicking is unforgivable.”

He added: “The message to the council is drop this and focus on making it the last time it happens to any music venue in our city. To everyone else concerned I cannot stress enough that anger directed at the complainants is misdirected. This is the council’s problem. Please pour your energy into supporting the campaign to save Night & Day and in due course the national legislation to prevent this happening to any historic venue that has been nick-named Jan’s Law.”

At the time of the 2021 noise complaint, the venue’s petition received tens of thousands of signatures and support from the likes of Johnny Marr, New OrderCourteenersFrank Turner and Mogwai, as well as the network of the UK’s grassroots music venues.

The Charlatans‘ Tim Burgess, who was instrumental in saving Manchester’s Gorilla and Deaf Institute through the pandemic, told NME why it was essential to fight back against this complaint.

“Music venues are essential for our nighttime economy and for the development of artists who will then tour the world and sell millions of records – they are vital for our towns and cities,” Burgess told NME. “Years and even decades after they opened, people are moving nearby and complaining about the noise. We need to get a grip of this daft situation. And it’s not just music venues – record shops are facing the same issue.

“The joke being that these city centre residents are often the ones showing off to their friends about the culture that surrounds them. We need to support our live music venues, not threaten them with closure.”

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