Hackney's Live Music Venues Fight Against Noise Complaints

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 19 months ago
Hackney's Live Music Venues Fight Against Noise Complaints
The colourful, graffitied frontage of The Jago
The Jago in Dalston is under threat from noise complaints from locals. Image: Larry J Photography

As if London's live music venues and pubs didn't have enough to contend with these days, many face a current enemy of the nightlife scene: NIMBYs.

While the Compton Arms in Islington is currently under threat from a handful of nearby residents, the Haggerston in Hackney recently had its late-night licence revoked, with opening times truncated.

Elsewhere, the Jago (formerly Passing Clouds) in Dalston is now being targeted by noise complaints; it's this venue, alongside through the noise — an organisation fostering grassroots classical music which puts on shows at the Jago — who've started a petition to protect venues in Hackney from complaints by what they see as a minority of locals.

Noisenights are sometimes hosted at The Jago, which has been targeted by noise complaints. Image: Jack Bazalgette

Jack Crozier is managing director at through the noise, and is spearheading the petition. He tells us: "With noise complaints, it can only take a few to trigger council action — see the Compton Arms, whose licence is being reviewed after four. This petition is to show the council that far more local residents support the business than not.

"It's quite easy for a complaint to be made, a committee to make a decision, and a licence be revoked without any community consultation from the side of the supporters."

The danger, says Crozier is that these kinds of complaint could be the final nail in the coffin for venues which have already struggled since the pandemic: "We've seen other venues across London fall to new-build noise complaints and council intervention, and it would be a disaster for the area if this were to spread further."

While Crozier says that it shouldn't be "left to a group of local businesses writing press releases in their spare time" to make the local community aware that their venues are closing, Hackney Council tells Londonist that sub-committees are "nearly always held in public", and that it is "extremely proud of Hackney's reputation as one of the best places in London for a night out."

A sign that reads 'commit no nuisance'
Image: M@/Londonist

Hackney Council also points out that the Jago's licence is not under review, as the Haggerston's was. The Jago has, however been issued with a a noise abatement notice.

Says Hackney Council: "We have been liaising with the Jago about allegations of excessive noise levels, which have also been witnessed by the council. The Jago has responded positively to council officers, however we have continued to receive complaints about noise and have issued an abatement notice, which specifies the steps the Jago must take to reduce noise.

"If the Jago takes the steps outlined in the notice, there will be no further action."

We get the impression that many local nightlife venues and councils — including those in Hackney — are working hard together to deal fairly with noise complaints. Indeed in 2016, Hackney Council backed a community campaign to save Passing Clouds, designating the venue as an Asset of Community Value.

The juggling act isn't always easy, but while late night venues must always be respectful of neighbours, as the well-worn argument goes, if you move to an area known for its nightlife, you can't whine every time you hear the blast of a guitar or the shattering of a pint glass.

Last Updated 24 August 2022