Music venues may have a powerful new line of defence against noise complaints from residents, following "landmark" protections won by a well-known East End pub.
Pauline Forster, who runs the George Tavern, has secured a Deed of Easement from the developers which prevents noise complaints by future residents.
Ms Forster's lawyer Tim Taylor, partner at Foot Anstey, said the innovative legal agreement reflected a commitment from the council to protect music establishments.
"Music venues round the country are justifiably worried about being shut down because of noise complaints from new developments.
"Tower Hamlets has grasped the nettle here by insisting that this essential legal mechanism goes hand-in-hand with the planning permission.
"The Deed of Easement we drafted and agreed with the council and the developer should now be considered by other local authorities, as it's the only way to fully safeguard local pubs and music venues, whilst still enabling much-needed housing to be built in urban areas. It's a win-win situation."
The deed protects the venue from losing its licence if residents complain about noise, as those residents will have legally accepted the noise levels from the venue when they bought their properties.
Pauline expressed her concern that noise complaints might have spelled disaster for the pub.
"The worry of having neighbours close by who might make noise complaints was a real threat for the George. We could have lost our licence almost immediately" she said.
"The security of the Deed of Easement is fantastic for us and for other pubs and venues, who stand to benefit from this as well.
I'm so happy with the result and really thankful to all our supporters, Tim and the planning officials at Tower HamletsPauline Forster
This is only the second time a deed of easement has been used to protect an entertainment venue from the threat of noise complaints. The first such case centred around the Ministry of Sound nightclub in London.
Taylor explains: "We first used this new deed of easement model with the Ministry of Sound, because the traditional methods of dealing with noise issues weren't robust enough to protect that venue's livelihood.
"Since then, we've seen a lot of interest in this new legal device from other venues worried about nearby residential developments.
"We've also had contact with local government and planning policy officials who are receptive to the idea as a way to balance the needs of well-established local businesses with the need to address lack of supply in the housing market."
Ms Forster has previously been involved in a disagreement with a separate developer over a plan to build a set of luxury flats near her pub.
She won that case in the Court of Appeal in 2016, following a successful campaign backed by several high profile celebrities, including Kate Moss and Amy Winehouse.
The George Tavern is a well-known venue on the music and arts scene and has been used as a filming location by numerous productions, including Netflix's Sense8 and Channel 4's the Morgana Show.
Individual artists including Justin Timberlake, Clean Bandit and Grandmaster Flash have also used it for shoots.
Notes to editors:
Pauline Forster is a successful entrepreneur, artist and the landlady of the George Tavern, an iconic music venue in Stepney. She purchased the George Tavern in 2003, since when the venue has acquired a reputation for hosting numerous well known artists and performers.
Tim Taylor is a partner and specialist planning lawyer at top 100 law firm Foot Anstey who has represented Pauline in discussions with Tower Hamlets. He drafted the deed of easement which protects the George Tavern from future noise complaints, as well as a similar deed for the Ministry of Sound.
Pauline and Tim are available for comment – please contact Thomas Ash or Daniel Thomas to arrange an interview.
Primary contact: Thomas Ash - [email protected] / 0797 378 5585
About Foot Anstey
Top 100 UK law firm Foot Anstey enjoys a reputation as an energetic, proactive firm, combining technical efficiency with a problem solving approach. This is supported by our top band rankings in independent legal directories, Chambers UK and Legal 500. We operate out of seven locations across the South West, South Coast and London and have over 500 staff.