A music festival which will last until dawn can go ahead this week after a lengthy council battle.
Plot 22 on Exchange Street will be allowed to host an “art, music and culture showcase” on Saturday which will run right through from midnight to 5.30am.
There were numerous objections from Environmental Health during a four hour meeting of the licensing board. Officers have received several complaints about loud music and anti-social behaviour. They said Plot 22 did not have proper door staff with ID and the building was not sound proofed.
But Plot 22 said it worked with local residents to address any noise complaints and felt the venue - in a quiet part of Castlegate - was being unfairly targeted compared to areas such as West Street, which had more disturbances.
Environmental Health officers, who had made several visits during the early hours, said they had received complaints about “rave style” events and said the fabric of the building was very poor with no soundproofing.
Officer Alison McDonald, who visited one night, said: “There was a raucous environment with a number of people on the street dancing, drinking and openly urinating. One girl had a can in her bra and entered the premises unchallenged. There was also a strong smell of cannabis. It did not give the area a feeling of safety or culture and gave a negative impression of the city.”
Her colleague Bob Singh said: “Things are getting worse. The applicant has not taken responsible steps to address noise breakout following advice. We question this art and poetry exhibition because I would not associate rave, techno and house music with that.”
But Michael Thompson, of Plot 22, said the venue had a good track record of working with the council on other events and was keen to comply. He promised they would monitor noise and provide proper security staff.
“These events are above board and going well. The focus here has been on club nights but if you look back to our events history, they all feature poetry and art and we mix these kind of things. This event is predominantly music but there will also be art.
“We are being unfairly targeted and there has been a lot of exaggeration. The same can be said of West Street where people cause a nuisance. Why is the level of scrutiny different for us?
“We have been encouraged to run events as part of the regeneration of the Castlegate area and there’s a balance to be struck. I have been to visit residents and gave them my contact details because I don’t want people to sit there all night being disturbed when I can sort it out.”
The licensing board granted a temporary notice for this weekend. Chairman Coun Josie Paszek said: “You need to monitor the number of people entering, actively encourage people to leave the area quietly and sit down with staff and explain what we expect of them. If anything goes wrong, it’s unlikely any further committee will be as lenient as us.”