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Let the music play: venue at risk of closure

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A much-loved music and arts venue could be closed, according to its owner.

Following complaints about noise, Studio 18 owner Zac Walsh was served official written notice from the Stroud District Counicil, which could halt music events in Brimscombe.

In response, more than 1,000 people have signed a petition to save music at Studio 18.  Petition here https://www.change.org/p/save-music-at-studio18

“Zac revealed: The written notice issued by Environmental Health officers at SDC,  is a legal precursor to being served a Community Protection Notice (CPN). This Notice is like an antisocial behaviour order – ASBO, but a CPN can be issued by just a council officer, rather than a court.

“A Community Protection Notice deems that the community needs protection from the person that is served the order. In this case I would be deemed a ‘threat’ to the community for organising music events. This is of course nonsense.

Studio 18 8 | Let the music play: venue at risk of closure
Studio 18 Picture: Matt Bigwood

“Studio 18 actively contributes to the well-being of the local community by providing art and music entertainment opportunities for the local and wider community. 

“Post corona-virus and lock-down, Studio 18 had a surge of interest, especially from young people, seeking to organise and attend creative activities and music nights at the Studio. 

As such, Studio 18 is a highly beneficial resource for the young people in our community.  In the last five years there have been many successful, trouble free, events held at Studio 18. These have included art exhibitions, children’s art workshops, Band It ( the four day rock/pop workshop for students aged 8 to 17 ), live music, charity fund-raisers and DJ disco nights. 

Studio 18 3 | Let the music play: venue at risk of closure
Artist Lily Flo Williams at Studio 18 Picture: Matt Bigwood

“Studio 18 serves all age groups in a safe and friendly atmosphere. Music events bring in valuable revenue, enabling other community focused activities to be held.” 

Following three noise complaints, after an event that was part of the Stroud-wide, ‘Pop Up Music and Culture Book Festival’ on the 24th March, Stroud District Council issued the  written warning.

“I am really worried that now that the legal written warning has been officially sent, that I will open my email on a Monday morning, after an event, and discover that a full blown Community Protection Notice has been served on me,” Zac added . 

“It would be a constant worry that one or two noise complaints could subject me to a fine amounting to £20,000 – enough to shut down Studio 18 for good.” 

“It is astounding that Stroud District Council have chosen to take this path on the word of just three complainants,  to start a legal process that could lead to a full blown Community Protection Notice being issued “ added Jagdish Patel from Global Beats who organises music events at Studio 18.   

“This  is a heavy handed, totally disproportionate and  unreasonable response from Stroud District Council. It does not take into account the high level of support that Zac and Studio 18 has within the local community.

“We are not asking for a carte blanche license to make unreasonable noise  – just to be treated fairly. We have put in place measures to mitigate noise, but Stroud District Council has not bothered to come out to monitor, or record sound levels to determine if the noise complaints are reasonable-or not. They have also failed to ask the opinion of local community members that support Studio 18’s music activities, including nearby neighbours who have not been disturbed by noise.

Save music at 18 Pic 2 | Let the music play: venue at risk of closure
Music could stop at Studio 18

“To help the local community better understand what we are  doing at Studio 18,  we will be holding an Open Day on Saturday, May 13th.”

A Stroud District Council spokesperson said: “Stroud District Council Environmental Health Officers have received complaints on a number of occasions about noise from amplified music being played in the late evening and early hours of the morning when late night music events have taken place at Studio 18 in Brimscombe.

“After an investigation, a Community Protection Notice Written Warning was served on the premises on 29 March 2023 which states that amplified music cannot be played so loudly that it unreasonably disturbs people living nearby.

“We are working with the management at the premises to seek to  ensure that noise is controlled and that future events can take place.”

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