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Sawbridgeworth Town Council objects to new application for live music and comedy club at old Barclays Bank building

The leaseholder for a vacant former bank in Sawbridgeworth faced councillors and residents to defend his plan to bring a live music and comedy club to the town.

A packed meeting of the town council’s planning committee on Monday evening (Feb 26) heard Darryl Sydes try to reassure neighbours of the old Barclays Bank in Knight Street that it was not going to be “some crazy nightclub”.

The committee was reviewing a revised planning application to East Herts Council for the entertainment venue after the applicant had been asked for further information.

The grade II listed former Barclays Bank building in Knight Street
The grade II listed former Barclays Bank building in Knight Street

The new application included a noise impact assessment report which one resident speaking at the meeting criticised. She said she had had the report reviewed by an expert and there were several issues, including not considering the outside area, which would be for at least 24 people.

There were also concerns that taking the average values of noise between 7pm and 1am would produce inaccurate readings and the report’s stated “closest receptors” were wrong.

Mr Sydes said he had responded to the request from East Herts Council to produce a noise assessment report and had chosen a certified company.

“I’ve done everything I was asked to do,” he said. “I understand a lot of people have concerns around the noise, but I’m trying to do everything I can.”

He added: “I’m aiming for people to come out and have a relaxed evening. I think it’s being misunderstood that it’s going to be some crazy nightclub.”

Other residents packed into the public area of the town council chamber expressed their concerns over noise along with parking.

Committee members also expressed their reservations about the revised application. Chair Cllr Nathan Parsad-Wyatt, while commending My Sydes for attending the meeting, said that there were still issues surrounding the application.

Councillors agreed to object to the revised application as “recent amendments submitted by the applicant leave significant issues unaddressed”.

The committee felt there was no parking assessment which suggested there was an inadequate plan for managing the expected increase in traffic.

It also stated the noise impact assessment report had failed to consider all potential noise sources, such as outdoor seating and the air source heat pump, kitchens, servicing activities and first-floor toilets.

The committee also raised issues over anti-social behaviour, road safety and operating hours and capacity.

Cllr Parsad-Wyatt told the Indie afterwards: “We are not a council of Nimbys. We strongly support local businesses and are keen to see investment in Sawbridgeworth – we desperately want to see this building brought back to life.

“However, that cannot mean at any cost and we have significant concerns with the current application, notably in the areas of parking, noise, road safety and operational management.”

Cllr Parsad-Wyatt added: “The town council was packed with residents giving their views on these issues and, while we are not the final decision-makers, we strongly advise that the applicant engage with the community to address their concerns and submit an application that can be embraced by locals.”

The final decision rests with East Herts Council.

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