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Hucknall cocktail bar to be allowed to host live music after U-turn

A Hucknall cocktail bar will be able to host live music and play songs until one hour before it closes after successfully appealing to have a condition on its planning permission removed.

Havana Blue, on Annesley Road, has been operating since 2018 but was not allowed to host live music events or play songs in its bar due to a planning condition imposed when it was first given consent.

However, the bar’s owner Dave Arnold applied to Ashfield District Council in a bid to remove the condition and said it was impacting upon his business in competing with other bars across Hucknall.

His application saw concerns raised about the potential impact on noise, anti-social behaviour and car parking, as well as support from neighbours who said there have been no issues with noise since its 2018 opening.

A recent noise assessment obtained by Mr Arnold concluded the changes would not have an “adverse impact” on noise levels in Hucknall and that, in planning terms, it would be “sufficient to allow” the condition to be removed.

However, Ashfield District Council’s planning committee had recommended the application for refusal at a meeting on Wednesday (July 20).

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In a report published ahead of the meeting, the authority believed the removal of the condition would “create an unacceptable level of additional noise and disturbance to neighbouring and nearby residential occupiers”.

This was not a view shared by councillors on the committee, who unanimously voted to go against officers’ recommendations and allow Mr Arnold permission to host live music.

Addressing councillors during the meeting, the bar owner confirmed that, since it opened in 2018, there had been no noise complaints and that he had operated without live music when nearby bars had not.

He said the bar is fitted with double insulated acoustic soundproofing measures and that, if live music was played, it would not go beyond 10.30pm or 11pm.

He added: “We’re a small cocktail bar and we’re not looking to turn this into a nightclub or a band venue. We don’t want ZZ Top or any other act, we just want solo artists.

“Because other bars have live artists and we don’t, our trade is massively affected and so are our livelihoods.

“We’re excluded from community events we’d like to support as other bars can have artists on, while we cannot do anything. We seek the support of this small business that contributes to the vitality of the town centre.”

Councillors in the chamber agreed with Mr Arnold’s view and opted to overturn the refusal recommendation in support of his business.

Councillor Phil Rostance (Con), who represents Hucknall West, said: “We’re talking about a little cocktail bar that wants to be amongst all the other bars.

“It brings in that extra bit of atmosphere and that’s what this bar is lacking to be on par with everywhere else. Let’s bring this venue in line with others so it can be another great venue in Hucknall.”

Cllr Lauren Mitchell (Lab), who represents Hucknall South, added: “The business is an asset and we need to be supporting our local businesses – we need Hucknall’s nightlife to be thriving.”

Mr Arnold agreed to discuss amendments to his planning conditions with councillors and officers following the meeting, which are expected to see noise levels restricted and music stopping one hour before the bar shuts.

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service after the meeting, Cllr David Hennigan (Ind), who called the plans into the committee, welcomed the outcome.

He said: “This is justice. It’s not as if he was planning to book Crowded House, Oasis or the Kings of Leon.”

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