Intensification of residential use threatened by theatre noise

The partial conversion and alteration of a pub within a central London conservation area has been refused after an inspector held that noise generated by a theatre in the building could undermine the amenity of future occupiers.

The pub building contained a theatre on the first floor and residential use. Currently, a four-bedroom flat was sited above the back stage and although the council could not confirm that it was ancillary in nature, a theatres trust confirmed that the accommodation was rarely occupied when shows were in operation. On this basis conversion of the space into two separate flats with no connection with the rest of the building would be harmful to the amenity of future occupiers, the council stated.

In agreeing that this was likely to be the case, and when coupled with the plans to expand a flat on the second floor, the inspector raised the potential for future occupiers to seek a noise abatement notice. This could put at risk the viability and long term operation of the theatre particularly since in older buildings there was a significant risk of noise being transferred through the structure. Consequently, it could not be guaranteed that future residents would be provided with a high standard of amenity.

Inspector: Sue Glover; Written representations

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