Believe it or not, venue operators, licensed venues and neighbours can co-exist reasonably and peacefully together. It is generally accepted by neighbours, and venue operators for that matter, that there will be some noise and disturbance from venues, but there is a limit to what should be tolerated, even by the most understanding neighbour.
As a venue operator, you must understand that your neighbours may become particularly irritated by some issues more than others. The more common complaints made about licensed venues include:
- Loud music, particularly thumping base;
- Patron noise, particularly with patrons leaving your venue (slamming car doors, vandalising property, gathering on street corners, drunken/anti-social behaviour etc.); and
- Refuse noise (particularly glass bottles being tipped into bins).
With this in mind, there are certain actions that licensees are able to take in order to reduce neighbourhood disturbances. These actions can assist in avoiding irritating their neighbours. In this post we outline 4 strategies which can assist venue operators reduce the possibility of negative impacts resulting from their venues operation.
1. Talk to your neighbours
Members of your neighbourhood are entitled to the peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their surrounds. Because of this, if your venue is operating in a manner that negatively impacts this enjoyment, you can generally expect concerns to be raised with you. If these concerns are not resolved quickly and effectively, neighbours are more likely to refer the problem to the police, the VCGLR or your local council. Talking to your neighbours, and staying on the front foot if issues do arise is key to maintaining a healthy relationship. If issues are raised with you, it is important to remember to:
- Take the matter seriously;
- Respond quickly and positively to concerns; and
- Offer neighbours your contact number.
Your neighbours can find it frustrating that sometimes when they telephone your venue, particularly at night, no one answers. For this reason, it is often appropriate that neighbours have direct access to a mobile phone number of the person who is ordinarily in charge, be it the licensee, the nominee, or your venue manager. Remember, small problems not dealt with become big problems.
2. Talk to your customers
Residential, and to a lesser extent commercial neighbours can become annoyed by loud music and patron noise such as comings and goings. Because of this, it is important to remind your customers about appropriate behaviour in and around the venue. This is particularly important at, or leading up to closing time. Some of the easiest ways to communicate this message to your customers are:
- Erect signage throughout your venue requesting that customers be respectful of the surrounding neighbourhood when leaving the premises
- Provide in venue announcements to your customers leading up to closing time reminding them of the need to depart quietly
- Maintain adequate levels of security staff to monitor the area surrounding your venue.
3. Be a good neighbour
Experience shows that if a venue operator ignores reasonable concerns brought to their attention by neighbours, the situation has the potential to rapidly deteriorate. Disciplinary proceedings initiated by the police as a result of such issued can lead to substantial fines, reduction of permitted trading hours at the venue or even suspension or cancellation of your licence. Some of the ways you can improve your standing within the neighbourhood include:
- Participate in licensee forums and neighbourhood groups
- Talk to the VCGLR, your local council and/ or your Police Licensing Inspector about ways to resolve concerns at an early stage
- Become involved within the community.
4. Reduce noise escaping from your venue
There are a range of strategies which can be implemented at your venue which can reduce the amount of noise escaping the premises. Some are more expensive than others, but all have the potential to reduce the potential for grumpy neighbours. The more common approaches include:
- Double glazing of windows
- Insulation of ceilings
- Airlocks to doors
- Noise limiting systems for amplifiers
- Directional sound systems
- Turn down the music
- Obtain advice and best solutions from sound engineers.
By utilising these four key strategies, your venue will be well on its way to playing part within a happy and healthy neighbourhood and wider community. Please contact us if you have concerns regarding your venue operation; we are able to assist you in preparing detailed venue management plans in order to assist with your venues day to day management.
Have you also considered outsourcing your venue compliance management? We also have a range of affordable compliance management packages designed to assist all venue types with day to day compliance management, specifically focused on liquor licensing! Contact us today to discuss your unique requirements.