Pub landlord hits back at neighbours' noise complaints with sarcastic sign

·4 min read
The sign at the Hare and Hounds asking customers to
The sign at the Hare and Hounds asking customers to 'whisper' in the beer garden, because locals have 'forgotten they live next door to a PUB and not a LIBRARY'. (SWNS)

A pub landlord has hit back at complaints about noise with a sign reminding neighbours they live next door to a pub, "not a library".

Michael Campbell, 27, owns the Hare and Hounds pub in Braintree, Essex.

Since lockdown lifted the venue has enjoyed a surge in visitor numbers, however he has been threatened with fines and even closure over complaints made to the local council.

Responding to the complaints, Campbell has posted a sign reminding locals "they live next door to a PUB and not a LIBRARY".

The notice reads: "Dear customers, can we please ask that you WHISPER whilst in our garden.

"This is due to the fact that we have NEIGHBOURS that forget they live next door to a PUB and not a LIBRARY and have nothing better to do than run to the COUNCIL and WHINGE."

The garden at the Hare and Hounds has breathed life into the business post-lockdown (swns)
The garden at the Hare and Hounds has breathed life into the business post-lockdown. (SWNS)

Campbell said: "We have been bottling it up for so long now.

"We've been constantly trying to work with Braintree Council but getting nowhere. I seriously think they have a vendetta against us.

"We are just a business trying to survive. We have been closed for over a year due to lockdowns and they are trying to close us again.

"I think the sign is appropriate. I completely understand that it's a little cheeky, but it's more of a statement."

Campbell said his customers have voiced support for the sign. 

"The customers love it," he said. "In their opinion, we should absolutely fight back.

The Hare and Hounds in Braintree, Essex is now a bustling venue thanks to a post-lockdown influx (swns)
The Hare and Hounds in Braintree, Essex is now a bustling venue thanks to a post-lockdown influx. (SWNS)

Since reopening in April 2020 the previously "quiet country pub" has seen a huge influx of customers.

During lockdown, Campbell converted the large garden to accommodate customers, increasing the capacity from 46 indoors to 300 both indoors and outdoors. 

The pub has also began to host live music on Saturdays with acts performing in the garden.

But now the venue could be facing a three month closure of its garden area following noise complaints from two neighbours.

Campbell said: "It's so frustrating, the council has taken the side of the two neighbours. 

"Every weekend we are getting noise complaints telling us that the noise is causing a 'statutory nuisance' to the point we were served an abatement notice meaning that if we make too much noise the council will take us to court and give us a huge fine.

"They are also trying to put a closure notice on me which could shut our garden for three months.

Michael Campbell, landlord of The Hare and Hounds (Michael Campbell/swns)
Michael Campbell, landlord of The Hare and Hounds. (Michael Campbell/SWNS)

"Without the garden our capacity would drop by 260 to around 46 but 40 people wouldn't even cover the bills."

Campbell said he had sent letters to his neighbours letting them know about his plans for outdoor seating and music. Should the closure notice be successful, he says his business may be forced to close down.

He added: "I feel like I've been let down by the council. We've done everything they asked us to do.

"There are only two that have complained but, to please these two people, the actions would cause 36 people to lose their job, I would lose my business and the community would lose their little hub."

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Council bosses have defended their decision to pursue action against the pub.

A Braintree District Council spokesman, said: “We have received over 30 noise complaints from numerous households since 16 April, arising from the use of the pub garden.

"As the local authority we have an obligation to investigate all complaints we receive and we have been trying to work with the owner of this establishment to resolve the issues.

"Ultimately it is for the business owner to control and manage his business and to act responsibly.

"Six different officers from this authority have verified the complaints from residents, even when taking into account the nature of the business, and there has been no significant improvement despite guidance and advice being offered.

"Of course we want to support local businesses during this time, but unfortunately it has become necessary for Braintree District Council to consider stronger measures to limit impact to residents from the business.”

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