Planning risks Bristol music venue’s closure


Thekla. Image byColin Park

‘Woefully inadequate’ noise assessment carried out on Thekla during application for development risks the closure of Bristol’s iconic music venue

Tomorrow (Wednesday, 8 November 2017) a Bristol planning committee meets to make a decision on an application for proposed development near the city’s iconic, award-winning, music venue, Thekla, with the risk that motion in favour of development could jeopardize its future.

The development would see three derelict buildings from a residential development at Redcliffe Wharf turned into affordable homes, offices and leisure space. All sounds good.

However, while Bristol’s Pollution Control Team have noted the need to conduct a new noise survey, in order that sound from Thekla during its busy weekend, can be taken into account, the decision on the application will be made without this.

A “good developer” would carry this noise survey out prior to application for approval.

The reason for this is to establish whether the sound from surrounding venues would be likely to lead to complaints from residents, as said complaints could lead to the aforementioned venues being closed.

As Mark Davyd of The Music Venue Trust explains: “”Sensible and adequately planned residential developments near to grassroots music venues like the Thekla mean that residents and music lovers can happily co-exist.

Continuing: “That outcome starts at the planning application stage when a good developer recognises the cultural value of the existing music venue and takes steps to protect it.

Adding: “Recognising the existence of an iconic music venue like Thekla starts with a thorough environmental impact study that specifically understands the noise in the area.”

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As the application has reached this stage without establishing whether any future complaints residents could be likely, it, and the proposed development is, frankly, a disgrace.

Between 2007 and 2015 it has been estimated that 35% of grassroots music venues in the UK have closed, due to similar development schemes to that which now threatens the existence of Thekla.

It is because of this that music fans are seeing a successful application for the proposed development near Thekla, as being tantamount to the venue’s death warrant being drafted by the developers and signed by the Bristol planning committee.

Songwriting stands alongside Thekla and we implore you to do the same.

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As a Bristol-based publication, we know how important the iconic venue is to the residents of not just the whole of Bristol, but its surrounding areas and the artists who play there. A successful application would put the interests of these people beneath those of the developers.

That is why we suggest that you post on your social media accounts, using #SaveThekla, so that the Bristol planning committee and the development team know how damaging and reckless their actions could be.

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