I know it’s rare for me to post two day’s in a row, but today I’m talking about something serious. Call Kenny Loggins, because we are in the danger zone. The Star Inn in Guildford has been served with a noise abatement notice. This decrees that all amplified music is to stop in the venue from 9th December.
So why is this happening?
Guildford Borough Council thought it appropriate to allow a developer to buy a neighbouring ex office building to turn into flats.
When the building was sold and the planning application went in, the venue pointed out the absurdity of building flats overlooking a live music venue and a pub court yard. Now the developer has complained about the noise and the council has realised that maybe it may be a bit noisy in the new flats.
I mean, let’s be real for a second, who buys a building next to a live music venue and then realises that it might be noisy…
Why do we need The Star Inn?
This pub claims to be the oldest live music venue in Guildford and hosted the Stranglers’ first official gig in 1974.
Small live music venues are the life blood of the live music scene, providing a stage for musicians everywhere. A stage that I hoped my band would one day have the honour of playing.
This is a place that everyone has been to at least once, to watch their friend’s first gig in support or catch some of their favourite local artists. Why would you take that away from the local community? A community that still arrives in force at shows and support this live music venue. I for one have been attending this venue for live gig’s since I turned 18, one I hoped my children would one day also attend.
This music venue thousands of people have listened to music in, shouldn’t be allowed to cease operation because of a money hungry developer. With the loss of the live music of the venue, there will also be a loss in income for the Star Inn, no doubt resulting in job loss for the staff of this beloved venue.
Council leader Paul Spooner, who showed his full support for The Star after the noise complaint, said he was “very disappointed” that officers had issued a noise abatement notice.
He stated: “My position remains unchanged. I strongly believe that it is absurd that the law allows for a centuries old live music venue to be under pressure due to recent development nearby.
“That said, I have to accept that officers are following due process.
“I am reassured that the lead member for licensing is doing all he can to resolve the situation. I know that among politicians from all major parties there remains strong support for the Star Inn.”
Harry White, from the Kings head just down the road from the Star Inn has put it perfectly in the email he sent to the local MP which he kindly shared, you can read this below and honestly he’s put it beautiful ( I did check with Mr White if he was happy for me to pop this in here prior to posting)
“”Dear Mrs Milton
I am writing to you as both a concerned citizen and fellow publican about the noise abatement notice that has been served to the Star in on Quarry Street, Guildford, which is quite frankly preposterous.
As our local MP, you are fully aware of what an affluent town Guildford is and part of the reason for this is the booming night time economy. A town that has always had ties with some of the most successful bands and musicians this country has ever seen, a lot of which started their journey in the historic Star back room . Without the music, the Star is likely to be sold and a lot of people will lose their jobs, some of which having worked at the venue for over ten years (as a venue that is very community driven, staff turnover for a town centre venue is very low).
This brings me on to the developer himself, a Mr. Neil Young. A man who has a stake in another pub, The Pound in Woking, a venue that itself often has live music. So why would a man who is in the pub trade and more specifically the live music pub trade, convert an office space next to a pub to and then complain about the noise, especially when he is cut from the same cloth as the people trying to save it? I think we all know the answer to this one, with the noise abatement notice in place, the brewery drops their selling price, he puts an offer in and hey presto, no more noise complaints from the neighbour! The fact that Guildford borough council hasn’t done anything to stop this makes them either stupid, ignorant or corrupt and I’m sure they’ll take great offence to being called any of those three, but if anyone supporting this farce from the council’s side can look me dead in the eye and with conviction tell me they are none of those three things, I will drop this right now.
As publicans we are often sent pieces of information on what the town is doing to bring people into the town, for example the purple flag initiative. We are told this broadens the appeal of the town and even helps sway decisions on where students pick as their top university choices. What are they coming to though? A town with a prestigious music school in the ACM, where live music venues are being shut down, so there’s nowhere locally to hone their craft. A town that is so concerned about one con man making some noise complaints, that they’re willing to put people out of a job. A move which will clearly set precedent and none of the pubs and bars will be safe. What good is a purple flag, a device to help your business, when the council from the town itself is doing everything to hurt it?
Guildford is not a sleep village, it is a University town and this whole exercise makes me ashamed to be from this town and it’s time for you as our local MP to stand up and put it right. If you do really care about the town, you must act on behalf of your constituents , you must SAVE OUR STAR!”
What can you do to help?
First of all, you can start by signing the petition to save the Star Inn here
This petition has been live for five months and has received over 21,000 signatures, which has been rising daily.
Email the local MP Anne Milton at email@example.com or tweet her @annemilton to show your concern and support for The Star Inn.
Email Guildford Council at firstname.lastname@example.org to show your concern and support for The Star Inn.
If you’re struggling with what to say, here’s a template below;
Dear Mrs Milton/ Guildford Council (delete as applicable)
I write to you as a concerned citizen with a love for the live music venue the Star Inn in Guildford.
The recent noise abatement notice server to the Star Inn it honestly ridiculous. As a small music venue, hosting many of Hampshire and Surrey’s up and coming band’s allowing a developer to build, then complain about the noise is frankly a joke.
Not only are the jobs of the people working within the venue at risk, the stage which has been right of passage for many local artists is under attack by a man who has stakes in another live venue but doesn’t wish to protect one in pursuit of money.
Guildford is the home of the ACM and you’re taking away a venue where these talented artists can stand up in front of friends, family and the people of the local area and show their skill.
I beg you to help this local music venue, stand up against someone who would rather money grab than preserve and protect the live music culture of the town.
I look forward to your response.
*PUT YOUR NAME HERE*
Stand up and be counted people, it’s time to start the riot the Star Inn deserves. Do your part, email, tweet and sign the petition and be counted.
You can find the Star Inn on Facebook here to keep up with updates!