Future of 'pioneering' Manchester music venue Night & Day Cafe at risk after noise complaint

Video report by ITV Granada Reports journalist Tim Scott.

Elbow lead singer Guy Garvey has backed calls to save a pioneering music venue in Manchester which could close after being issued a noise abatement notice.

Night and Day Cafe, which has hosted the likes of Ed Sheeran and Arctic Monkeys, was issued the notice in 2021 after new neighbour complained of loud music.

The owners of the Northern Quarter venue, say they now have to either "accept the noise abatement notice, which will put us at risk of immediate prosecution in the event of noise complaints, or go to court at significant expense to appeal it.

This could mean the end of Night and Day forever.

Manchester City Council say the local authority has "never threatened to close down this venue".

Credit: ITV News

Night and Day, which opened in 1991, has been described as a 'cultural dynamo' in the city, and a hub of live music and the arts for more than 30 years.

Acclaimed acts including Elbow, Ed Sheeran, Johnny Marr and the Arctic Monkeys have all played at the venue.

Issues began when a resident moved into an apartment next door to the venue during lockdown, when businesses in the Northern Quarter were shut down and quiet.

When Night & Day reopened and began trading as it had done for the previous three decades, a noise complaint was made by the resident.

Elbow lead singer Guy Garvey said: "This a shameful disgrace and we are furious. Manchester's music and arts are things we all share and are rightfully proud of.

"The council and its politicians, its football teams and its universities all use our music in proud promotion.

"Night & Day has taken hundreds of Manchester artists from bedrooms and garages to the world stage.

"The vibrant scene started by Night & Day triggered enormous redevelopment in what we now call the Northern Quarter and making all this happen is a constant bill to bill balancing act.

"That this corner stone of our city's culture is under attack again is bewildering."

Owners say they could be forced to close after the notice.

After receiving a copy of the planning file for the redevelopment of the building next door where the complainant lived, the owners of Night & Day were shocked to find that a crucial acoustic report had not been provided, nor acoustic works completed to the development before it was occupied.

This was a condition of the planning consent for conversion of the building next door, to ensure that residents were not disturbed by noise from pre-existing businesses in the area.

Owner Jennifer Smithson said "We were one of the founding businesses in the development of the Northern Quarter, people wanted to move here because of vibrant, interesting places like Night & Day which is great and it's really enhanced the area.

"What is particularly galling is that the planning department knew about the potential for noise disturbance from Night & Day when it issued the planning consent to turn the warehouse next door into residential flats.

"A separate acoustic report was required to establish what could be done to prevent noise from Night & Day impacting residents of the building.

"However, no separate acoustic report was ever prepared by the developer and the planning department allowed the building to be occupied without suitable acoustic insulation works."

A spokesperson for Manchester City Council said: “It must be made explicitly clear from the outset that the Council has never threatened to close down this venue, nor is there any legislation which would allow a Noise Abatement Notice to be used to close a premises. 

"It is important to reiterate throughout this process extensive discussions have taken place to try and address the statutory noise nuisance which was the sole reason a Noise Abatement Notice (NAN) was served. 

“The Council is, and remains, supportive of the music scene in Manchester which Night and Day has championed, but we have to comply with our duties in respect of statutory nuisance. It is also important to state that the source of complaints regarding this venue relate to very loud music played into the early hours of the morning and not live band performances. 

“Manchester like many other vibrant international cities is constantly evolving and the Council always seeks to ensure that entrainment, retail, leisure and residential activity can thrive.

"As the city evolves, so do music genres as do music systems and operating practices.

"Any issues with regards to noise nuisance outside music venues are almost always resolvable by working with the venue owners to adapt the approach or by making modifications to the equipment or premisses. 

“The Council will continue to work towards an amicable resolution where the noise nuisance is fully addressed.” 

The date of the court hearing is the 29 November - 1 December 2022.