Sheffield city centre residents tell of noise misery as new karaoke bar withdraws 5am licence bid

A new Sheffield city centre karaoke bar has pulled back from applying for a 5am licence as neighbouring residents told councillors about the noise misery they already suffer from surrounding venues.
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New bar Soho, which is moving into the West One development on Fitzwilliam Street near West Street, will be allowed to open until 12.30am and until 1am on Fridays, Saturdays and the day before a bank holiday but staff must stop serving at 12.30am.

The decision was made by Sheffield City Council’s licensing sub-committee, which heard from residents and the agent working for the applicant. The bar originally aimed to open until 5am but changed that to 2am and then 1am after discussion with council licensing officers and residents who objected.

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Peter Sephton, of city centre residents’ association Changing Sheff, said that council planning policies class that area as a night-time quiet area, where pubs and restaurants should close by 12.30am. He said: “I’ve been forced to come here to protect the council’s own strategy.”

Sheffield city centre residents' association leader Peter Sephton objects at a city council meeting to plans for late-night opening by new West One Plaza karaoke bar SohoSheffield city centre residents' association leader Peter Sephton objects at a city council meeting to plans for late-night opening by new West One Plaza karaoke bar Soho
Sheffield city centre residents' association leader Peter Sephton objects at a city council meeting to plans for late-night opening by new West One Plaza karaoke bar Soho

He worried that giving permission for later opening would mean other venues would follow suit in a “domino effect”, increasing the noise nuisance in the area with “shouting, singing and taxi horns blowing into the early hours”.

Mr Sephton said that the applicants cited Revolution bar on Fitzwilliam Street as a reason they should be able to open late but that falls just outside the quiet area.

Noisy customers

Fellow objector Mark Booth said he has lived in West One for 20 years. He said he was confused because the company said it was planning a karaoke bar targeting hen and stag parties but also had plans for a restaurant that will have background music.

West One resident Mark Booth objects at a Sheffield City Council meeting to plans for late-night opening by new West One Plaza karaoke bar SohoWest One resident Mark Booth objects at a Sheffield City Council meeting to plans for late-night opening by new West One Plaza karaoke bar Soho
West One resident Mark Booth objects at a Sheffield City Council meeting to plans for late-night opening by new West One Plaza karaoke bar Soho
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He told councillors they already suffer with disturbance from nearby bars such as Revolution, both from noisy customers and loud music. “The noise means we can’t use our outside area without having to listen to screaming and shouting and people that are drunk,” he said.

Bright lights on in the plaza all night also mean people sit and drink outside in the area until the early hours.

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Another objector, Maxine, said she had always lived in the city centre. “Round where we live on Friday and Saturday nights you’ve got takeaways open until 5am, bars open until 4-5am.

The proposed site of new karaoke bar Soho in West One Plaza, Sheffield city centre. Residents objected to original plans to open the venue until 5amThe proposed site of new karaoke bar Soho in West One Plaza, Sheffield city centre. Residents objected to original plans to open the venue until 5am
The proposed site of new karaoke bar Soho in West One Plaza, Sheffield city centre. Residents objected to original plans to open the venue until 5am

“That strip of West Street/Division Street can still be as noisy at that time, 6am, as it is at 11pm at night. In the Plaza they start getting drunk at 11.30am on Saturday.”

She added: “West Street is just a pig pen. It’s just disgusting, the amount of rubbish is absolutely disgusting.”

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She said she was ashamed when people visit her to allow them on her balcony because of the language they can hear.

As an NHS worker she often can’t sleep before starting shifts.

Sheffield city centre resident Maxine objects at a city council meeting to plans for late-night opening by new West One Plaza karaoke bar SohoSheffield city centre resident Maxine objects at a city council meeting to plans for late-night opening by new West One Plaza karaoke bar Soho
Sheffield city centre resident Maxine objects at a city council meeting to plans for late-night opening by new West One Plaza karaoke bar Soho

Sound insulation

The objectors told councillors it was hard to get venues, police or the council to take their complaints seriously.

Nick White, of agents Wollaton Trade, representing the applicants, said that there would be karaoke in the downstairs restaurant bar area for part of the evening. Small function rooms upstairs could be booked for parties including karaoke.

He said that upstairs party rooms would have sound insulation and an entrance porch with two sets of doors would help to contain noise and there would be no outside seating. Other noise-containing measures would be included in the venue design.

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Mr White added: “I just want to reassure you that it isn’t a fly-by-night set-up that’s going to railroad everything.”