Burry Port Band in trouble with the local council

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by dyl, Nov 18, 2005.

  1. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    Is this bureaucracy gone mad?

    Can only find the story in Welsh on the web, but it's gathering momentum here in the Principality at the minute, having been on the news on S4C last night, and soon to be covered on BBC Radio Cymru this afternoon.

    Welsh version: http://news.bbc.co.uk/welsh/hi/newsid_4440000/newsid_4447800/4447816.stm

    I'll attempt a translation:

    I'll have a listen to the story on the radio in the next half hour, and will report back on anything that can add to the above.
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  2. dyl

    dyl Active Member

    The chairman of the band and a represntative from Environmental Health have just been on the radio now. Basically - there has only been one complaint made - by one elderly lady living next to the bandroom. The council have suggested the band move back to their old rehearsal room, but the band say that is not suitable, in terms of acoustic, size etc. and that the only option is acoustically treat and sound-proof the current bandroom. But this will cost money - money that that band doesn't have. They are going to apply for a grant early next year in an attempt to secure funding for this purpose. Environmental Health are, however, hopeful that a solution will be reached.

    Also on the radio discussing the story, and I didn't know about this till I tuned in, was Meirion Jones, secretary of my band, Deiniolen, who had been contacted i norder to give another band's perspective on the situation. Meirion emphasised that all bands serve their community well, and that it is ludicrous that 1 person can threaten the well-being and good name of a band like this. Meirion also mentioned he didn't like the use of the word 'noise' in every article relating to this story - and emphasised that it's 'music' that bands make, not 'noise'.

    It's a mad world, isn't it?!!!!
  3. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    If it is only one elderly resident complaining I would have two suggestions

    a) get her ears tested - to find just what level she can hear at and
    b) it might be cheaper to sound proof her house instead of the band room

    This is an issue which the band will have a problem to deal with - the statutes allow for people to be protected from "noise pollution". Some years ago the conductor of our band was prevented/limited to reheasing in his council house because of a complaint from a neighbour.

    He was well into his 70's but still played the piano and saxophone every day - was threatened with eviction if he did not limit this to something like 1 hour per day and not after 6.00pm. Totally unfair.


    It may well be worth the band trying ot come up with an alternative solution such as reorganising the band room so that there are no players in the band facing the wall next to the complainant, changing time of rehearsals, accoustic matting under drum kit etc.

    From an enforcement point of view (I am an EHO) It would be very hard to prove a statutory nuisance where the band have taken all reasonable steps to prevent noise from entering the neighbouring premises.

    These situations are not what the Environmental Protection Act was Designed for. They are much easier dealth with through mediation

  5. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    This is not unique; I read about a southern band (I think it was Bedford Town?) being threatened with eviction on 4BR for the same reason. It's ludicrous jobsworth bureaucracy gone mad and I emailed the secretary of the band offering any help they felt they needed including writing to the council, signing petitions or donating to a fighting fund. I'll happily offer similar moral or practical support to Burry Port if they feel they need it and so should any brass player who doesn't want to see banding killed off by this sort of ludicrous jobsworthism. A similar thing happened to Northop about 22 years ago - they were evicted from their bandroom of many years after numerous complaints from a local busybody and ended up in a temporary bandroom next to the cricket field for about 10 years.
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2005
  6. tam-tam2

    tam-tam2 Member

    My band rehearsed in Scout/Guide hut which is adjacent to the Burry Port Band room before the recent Burry Port contest. The area, although amongst houses does not seem to be to be too close to the surrounding houses. I remember being outside when the band after were rehearsing and the noise did not seem to be at all loud. Perhaps they have very good hearing in west Wales. There are a few people on here from the Burry Port band, perhaps they will comment when they see the thread.
  7. tinytimp

    tinytimp Member

    As a member of Burry Port Town Band, I have to admit that I didn't realise the extent of the problem until I turned up to band this week to find the BBC News cameras there. The band have done a lot to try and reduce the noise - polystyrene on the walls/hanging from the ceiling, curtains, wood on the windows etc., which is all I think is within our financial means at the moment.

    Apparently this one resident has complained twice. As dyl has mentioned, it isn't suitable to move back to the old bandroom (which is almost nextdoor anyway) as the band is now developing and the acoustic of the old (smaller) room are really not conducive to the bigger sound that we are beginning to produce.

    We'll just have to hope that some nice company saw the news and wants to donate lots of money!
  8. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    Well im backing BURRY PORT BAND ALL THE WAY>PLAY EVEN LOUDER so the OLD GIRL as really got something to moan about.

    LONG LIVE BRASS BANDS:clap: :clap: :woo :guiness
    :hammer BURRY PORT BAND ON TOP:clap: :woo

    TIMBONE Active Member

    As has been said already, this kind of selfish, unsociable, thoughtless behaviour on the part of the general public is becomming a problem. When I read about Bedford Town Band being threatened with eviction from their rehearsal premises, I brought it to the attention of my own band, Flixton. Our bandroom can become uncomfortably warm, and it was quite usual for us to rehearse with the door open, (which is an outside door). We now suffer the heat to hopefully avoid the eventuality of a complaint.

    There has already been a thread about The Navigation Inn in Saddleworth. For decades there has been a tradition of Sunday afternoon Summer concerts outside the pub. I believe some new residents attempted a petition to get them stopped.

    Unfortunately, we have to deal with these narrow minded individuals who cannot hear beyond their unmuisical ears. Even though the band rehearsing nearby are working hard at a worthwhile activity, are providing a service for the community, and are only there for 4 or 5 hours a week, they don't like it. I'm afraid that for that hanful of individuals who complain, it is not music, it is noise. They have tunnel vision, so even if it pointed out to them that this is music, and has many thousands of supporters, they don't like it, so everyone else must be wrong.
  10. JayneSop

    JayneSop Member

    To be honest this is getting a bit out of hand. As tiny timp said, it just one person who seems to have a problem. Whilst we are sympathetic to her/his opinion, we have to do whats right for the band.

    In fairness the council, on the whole are very supportive of the band, as is the community of Burry Port. And we are very grateful for this support.

    So i'm sure that we can find a way forward. We may need to soundproof the bandroom a bit more. But I'm very optimistic that we will find a solution to this problem. And soon.

    Burry Port Sop
    2005 Welsh League Champions (previously known as Champion band of Wales, until it was changed last year for some unkown reason!!! )
  11. andyp

    andyp Active Member

    This is starting to happen all over, people are generally becoming more selfish. Last story I saw was about bellringers being banned somewhere.

    It backfires sometimes though. We had a beer festival job every year at a country pub, until some nouveau rich who'd not long moved into the village (well, a large house just outside)complained about the noise. Result - no licence for us to play, but a standard pub licence then allowed for two guys, two guitars and a VERY loud PA system instead. And they were on nearly all night, as opposed to us for 2 hours. Serves them right!
  12. timbloke

    timbloke Member

    It most certainly was. From my memory (although I may be wrong) Bedford Town Band were forced to move from their home by some new neighbours at a new housing estate.
  13. Melph

    Melph Member

    Is there a local Boots chemists nearby - perhaps a member of the band can drop into the old neighbour and give her a bag of cotton wool for her ears?

    Im happy to start the cotton wool fund raising.
  14. topeuph

    topeuph Member

    Thanks for the support.

    Just to keep you up to date with latest from this story.
    There was a meeting between the band and Carmarthenshire County Council environmental health officers on Wednesday. Also in attendance were members of Burry Port town council, all of whom have been extremely vocal in their support for the band. We were told that noise level readings were taken at the complainants house on a rehearsal night in July. We were told that the noise levels for that night were well above normal background levels, and because of this, they were forced to act. A previous thread commented that we could face in another direction, away from the house in question, But in order to keep the anonimity of the complainant, we were not told in which direction from the bandroom the complainants house was. It was suggested by of our councillors that the band could insulate the part of the bandroom facing the house, but we were told we would have to insulate the whole building, thus doubling our costs. It was even suggested by one of the environmental health officers that we should consider changeing the instruments that we play, I think half of us laughed and the other half just sat with open mouths at that comment. At the moment, we simply cannot afford to insulate the building to a professional standard (we think it will cost at least £30,000), so we are forced to improvise with cheaper materials that we hope will do the job, if they don't, then the consequenses don't bare thinking about. After the meeting, a reporter from Radio Wales came to the bandroom to interview some committee members and our town Mayor. When he had finished, he said that he'd been around the 50 or so houses nearest to the bandroom to canvas opinion on the matter. All bar One were in support of the band. Some even said that the opened their windows on rehearsal nights so they could listen to the music. We tried to badger the reporter into telling us who the one negative voice was (were knew it had to be the complainant), but he wouldn't say. I think its fair to say that this situation has created a S**tstorm in Burry Port. The people of the town are furious that one of their longest serving institutions has been put at grave risk by a single complaint.

    Ceri John
    Solo Euph
    Burry Port Town Band (1896-2005?)
  15. topeuph

    topeuph Member

    I forgot to mention that as a band, we are unable to move back to our old bandroom, as it is now used by the local Aikido club (another well repected organisation in Burry Port), and it would be grossly unfair (and dangerous) to ask them to move to their old training area (which is now condemned).
    Ceri John
    Burry Port Band
  16. Steve

    Steve Active Member

    I dont know how big Burry Port is and would never have heard of it had it not got a band. People need to be made aware that their town band does much more than play in the local park on sunday and go caroling at christmas for the locals.

    The band is an advert for the town, the residents and the area and should be encouraged because of this. I cant remember the ammout of places I have been to purely because I was in the area and wanted to see where some random band I had competed against came from.

    Otherwise I would never have discovered Wem!!!

    My last band had a great relationship with the locals and the council, they were supportive beyond belief and as a result I think Raunds is now a recognised place name to more than just the surrounding villages. MAKE YOUR LOCALS REALISE HOW MUCH YOU DO and good luck.
  17. WoodenFlugel

    WoodenFlugel Moderator Staff Member

    This is a terrible set of events, and I really feel for the members of Burry Port Band. I can't really being to offer any advice, all I can say is I can only hope that the situation sorts itself out as soon as possible.

    When will people realise that Brass Bands do an awful lot to serve the community?
  18. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    When the bands are not there anymore and they realise that there's no-one else that gives children free instrumental lessons, turns out in the park in the summer, at the cenotaph on remembrance day and at the local shopping centre at christmas, that's when.:mad:
  19. B'aht a band

    B'aht a band Member

    This made "The Sun" over here in Belfast today, and I quote....

    "A champion brass band has been told to quit rehearsals in its new hall - after a neighbour moaned to the council about noise in Burry Port, South Wales."

    Now, a neighbour, as in singular..... That is absolutely ludicrous and that the council/environmental health officer have agreed with the one (probably old and maybe slightly insane) moaner. Honestly, these are the sort of people who write in to Woman's Weekly or Readers Digest saying "a funny thing happened to me on the way to the shops....." Grrrrrr!!!!! :mad:

    Andy, spouting away on his soapbox
  20. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    the story also made talksports news bullettin this morning