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College gets its public events licence

PUBLISHED: 10:53 10 April 2010 | UPDATED: 17:23 30 June 2010

IT has been billed as a Fame academy for Norfolk, but angry neighbours of the new performing arts centre at Great Yarmouth College yesterday told councillors they were paying the price for fame.

IT has been billed as a Fame academy for Norfolk, but angry neighbours of the new performing arts centre at Great Yarmouth College yesterday told councillors they were paying the price for fame.

Objecting to the college's belated application for a premises licence to stage public concerts and plays in the centre's theatre, six residents in Anchor Court - some living only yards away - presented a letter to the borough council's licensing committee revealing how they already endured thumping music, swearing and such anti-social behaviour as students climbing their fences.

The Mercury revealed in February how the college had initially forgotten to apply for a premises licence after its old arts building closed - resulting in the hurried application.

However, ending fears the theatre in the £2m complex could end up as a white elephant, the committee approved the all-year round licence from 2pm to 5pm and 7pm to 10.30pm.

But in response to residents' concerns, conditions were imposed that external windows and doors should be closed during performance, notices should be put up asking the audience to leave quietly and noise levels during events should be monitored and logged.

Committee chairman George Jermany advised residents to log any future noise complaints and urged college bosses to hold regular meetings with their Southtown neighbours to address concerns.

College principal Robin Parkinson had told the committee they had gone to great pains to design the new building sensitively after discussions with their immediate neighbours. The building had been sound-proofed to meet statutory benchmarks and noise levels were regularly monitored.

He confessed that a college was “inevitably a noisy neighbour” with a large community of young people, but pointed out it was in a relatively noisy part of town.

He said in developing the new area of campus on a former builder's yard, they had considerably enhanced what had been a rough piece of ground.

He stressed that although hiring out the venue to local dance and drama groups was part of their aim, the number of public events staged throughout the year would be limited to a handful.

Speaking at the town hall meeting for the residents, John Brookshaw had said the centre's roller shutter doors and windows were often open, making the noise worse. And he said college bosses had often failed to return phone calls when they had rung to complain.

After the meeting, Mr Parkinson said: “We are very conscious of our responsibilities to local residents as our neighbours and make every effort to keep any noise disturbance to an absolute minimum.”


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