Shropshire Star

Council 'wants to work with' Ironbridge bar at centre of noise row

Telford & Wrekin Council says it wants to work with an Ironbridge cocktail bar which has been the subject of complaints about noise.

Mike and Gail Perks from Cleo's of Ironbridge

Gail and Mike Perks, of Cleo's in Ironbridge, said they received a notice from the council's night time economy public protection team last Friday.

The council has allegedly received complaints about the cocktail bar regarding the level of noise, but the pair said they have done everything within their power to keep the noise down.

A spokesperson for Telford & Wrekin Council said: “Telford & Wrekin Council is on the side of both businesses and residents in Ironbridge and has been working to resolve noise nuisance issues at Cleo’s Cocktail Bar for the past 12 months.

“We want businesses to be successful, and will continue to invest in them through the Pride in our High Streets scheme, but it is also important that we support people who live in the area. Our main aim is to implement licensing legislation fairly and consistently to prevent noise nuisance across the borough."

The spokesperson added: “Cleo’s was issued a noise abatement notice under the Environmental Protection Act for excessive noise levels in May 2022. This means they must stop making a public noise nuisance.

“Due to ongoing complaints received from residents and evidence provided by the local authority, it appears that the notice has not been adhered to. The licensing sub-committee will now meet to consider the evidence from all parties and decide upon the most appropriate outcome.”

Mr and Mrs Perks said the council's action was "disheartening". The bar and kitchen, which is located on the High Street, serves an array of cocktails as well as hot drinks and food, and also runs quiz nights and live music on a bi-weekly basis. Mrs Perks said losing their premises licence would "seriously impact" their livelihood – particularly as they are still recovering from the effects of the pandemic – and this would threaten their business with closure.

She said: "We have done everything within our power to do what the council has asked us to do and it will seriously impact our livelihood, if they go ahead with revoking it – that will close our business."

Mrs Perks said her husband has been walking around with a sound meter, that they have soundproofed as much as they can and also kept windows shut when performers have been on stage. The bar has live music a couple of times a month, Gail said, and it finishes at 10.30pm.

She claims that if the licence was not revoked in its entirety, then the any proposed conditions of no background/recorded music and ceasing the use of the outside area after 10.30pm would still seriously affect them.

"Even to do away with background music and live music and no drinking outside, that will seriously impact our business," she said. "We have been inundated with support. We have had a couple of people saying 'we have been complaining', but on the whole the support for us has been absolutely outstanding. Our staff work as hard as we do, they give their all, the customers love them and it's just disheartening in this age when we are trying to get back to the things that we were doing before Covid."

She said the pandemic had a massive impact on the business, as with the hospitality sector as a whole, and that Cleo's takings is around one third of what it had been before Covid.

"I think that's the problem with a lot of the residents, it was so so quiet during Covid and now things are opening up there's nothing but complaints. They want to it to be a dead zone," she added.

Their Facebook post about the issue has received more than 200 comments and 200 shares since Sunday.

The team at Cleo's will find out the council's decision after March 24.

"At the moment we can't do anything until the 24th of March," Mrs Perks said, "The notice has to stay on the door until then. We are in no man's land, we don't know how it will go. We are at a loss, it's our livelihood that will ultimately go."

People can submit comments and evidence for consideration by the licensing sub-committee by emailing or by post to Licensing Service, Telford & Wrekin Council, Darby House, Lawn Central, Telford TF3 4JA. Comments must be submitted by 5pm on March 24.