New Forest Inn at Ashurst forced to cancel some music gigs after losing noise abatement order from NFDC
A COUPLE who run a pub in Ashurst have been left with a £5,650 court bill and restrictions on outdoor music events after challenging a noise abatement notice.
Jo and Ian Laver, landlords of the Forest Inn, appealed against action taken by New Forest District Council in July 2021 after a complaint about disturbance at the venue, off the A35 Lyndhurst Road.
But at a hearing at Southampton Magistrates' Court, they failed to overturn the order to quieten down.
Instead, the court ruled the couple can only hold outdoor music events four times a year and it must stop at 10pm.
No limit was placed on how often it can have bands perform inside, but the couple must pay to install a noise limiter to cut the sound if it reaches a level above that permitted by NFDC.
The pub must also ensure all windows and doors are closed while music is playing.
Mr Laver told the A&T he was "gutted" with the decision, which also ruled he must pay the council's costs of £5,650.
He said: "It's been a nightmare, we have been screwed right over. We're going to have to cancel some events but we will keep the music going.
"We're not a great big pub where we can always have the music indoors."
He explained that the court had ordered them to use one of their horse fields behind the pub for live music, which he said would mean building an outdoor bar to accommodate patrons.
He added: "We can't understand why the council backed one household. It's not even a residential area and the traffic drowns out any noise anyway."
A spokesperson for New Forest District Council told the A&T: "Officers will work with the landlord of the pub if requested, to assist them in complying with the notice and help improve the environment for those residents who had been suffering from noise nuisance.
"The court varied the abatement notice to include specific measures for them to action and adhere to regarding noise nuisance from music and amplified speech from the pub."
Mr ad Mrs Laver took over the pub in 2020 and ahead of the hearing warned they might have to close if live music, often from local bands, was stopped altogether.
The case sparked letters of support from regulars at the inn, which had live music most weekends and has apparently been operating since about 1825.