Falkirk pub ‘not suitable’ as a live music venue

The Star Inn on Grahams Road.
The Star Inn on Grahams Road.

A Falkirk pub has been forced to cut its live entertainment drastically after a neighbour claimed the noise from karaoke, live bands and open mic nights had been making life a misery.

Falkirk Licensing Board heard that the Star Inn on Grahams Road had tried to make changes to lessen the din but without success.

Investigations finally revealed the problem – it has no insulation at all, in either walls or ceiling, to stop the sound travelling to neighbour’s homes.

Officers from the council’s Environmental Health department told board members that when they had visited the flat above, even normal conversations could be heard from the pub below.

They also noticed a hat stand in the hall was shaking with the vibrations when a singer was performing.

Council officer Martin McNiven said that although manager Vicky Redding had been helpful and made lots of changes to mitigate the problem, in his opinion the building is not suitable as a live music venue.

“To be clear, it’s not that the pub is making excessive noise compared to any other pub – but I don’t think you can have live entertainment in its current format. It’s just not suitable, the way its constructed,” he told the board.

Ms Redding and the pub’s owner, William Simpson, now have six months to find a solution and until they do they can only have singers on Friday and Saturday evenings from 5-8pm.

The issue came to light last year when Ms Redding took over the bar – but her plans to attract customers with live bands, karaoke and open mic nights became a nightmare for the pub’s neighbours.

One of them, Sarah Simpson – who does not live directly above the pub – said it became so bad she could no longer have her young nephew to stay and she eventually had to send her dog away at weekends because of the noise.

Describing one evening when a band was playing, she said: “It sounded like walls were getting knocked down there was so much banging!”

On another occasion, when the pub hired Irish dancers, “it felt like the walls were coming in!”.

After months of complaints and negotiations between the pub management and the council’s licensing officers and environmental health officers, Ms Simpson asked the board to review the pub’s licence.

She told the board that Ms Redding had taken several measures that helped – including fitting a sound limiter, moving amplifiers away from the wall and stopping all bands and karaoke sessions.

But while it was an improvement, she was not satisfied it was a long-term solution.

Members of the board ordered the venue to stop all live music but Ms Simpson said she was happy with a compromise of allowing the venue to have a singer and guitar, with amplification, between 5pm and 8pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

This will be reviewed in six months and in that time the owner and manager of the Star Inn have promised to fit some kind of insulation at a cost of around £15,000.