Fighting for the Farmer's - another St Albans pub in crisis

The Farmer's Boy in St Albans.

The Farmer's Boy in St Albans. - Credit: Danny Loo

A much-loved St Albans music venue is at risk of closure following noise complaints from neighbours.

The Farmer's Boy in London Road has been promoting live music for the past 14 years, with gigs in their beer garden every Saturday afternoon between 2.30-5pm.

But they have now received a noise abatement order which threatens continued performances and puts the very future of the pub in jeopardy.

Landlady Ros Kintu said they had always strived to balance the rights of residents not to face an excessive noise nuisance and the rights of local businesses to offered unencumbered.

They took various measures to restrict disruption including making sure the performance faced out towards London Road, ensuring there is a day of rest following any event, concluding live gigs by 6pm and managing bands' sound levels.

Following persistent complaints from one neighbour, they invested £2,000 in acoustic quilts to restrain levels, and encourage bands to bring in smaller amps, for drummers to use brushes, and monitored noise levels in the vicinity of the complainant's home.

"So I was absolutely astounded to discover that SADC has served a noise abatement notice upon us. If successful it will mean the end of live music at the Farmer's Boy and as the cornerstone of our business, puts our very future in jeopardy.

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"With hospitality suffering enormously since lockdown, we, like many other pubs are struggling to keep our heads above water. Without our Saturday afternoon music in the garden, it feels unlikely that we would survive for very long. We have put our hearts and souls into The Farmer’s Boy, and have many very loyal music fans as customers for which we are very grateful.

"The current situation is especially surprising as St Albans council markets itself as always supporting and promoting  the city's music heritage, and ironically has several outdoor music events lined up for this summer."

A SADC spokesperson said: "In this case, we received complaints from several residents about excessive noise from amplified music played outdoors.

“Our investigations confirmed noise could be heard in one property with the windows closed and was audible despite a TV being on.

“We have had discussions about the issue with the pub in question and suggested measures to keep the noise down.

“Unfortunately, the noise has remained at a level that could be considered a statutory nuisance.

“We therefore had a legal duty to serve a noise abatement notice on the business requiring them to reduce the noise to an acceptable level. Our officers continue to work with the pub and the community to help them achieve this."