Loughton conference centre granted licence despite noise concerns

A licence allowing music to be played until as late as midnight has been granted in the face of concerns from neighbours.

Debden House in Loughton has been given permission by Epping Forest District Council to play music outside from 10am and 10pm Thursdays to Saturdays and until as late as 9pm on Sundays.

Permission for music inside extends from 10am to midnight Thursdays to Saturdays and between 12pm and 9pm on Sundays.

The Newham Council-owned conference centre, which had held a licence previously, but surrendered it voluntarily in 2018, has been told it must liaise with Epping District Council over noise limiting.

However, it says with the current financial pressures and the need to improve its financial standing it is assessing the viability of the centre it has run since the 1940s.

It says to ensure it remains self-sufficient, future plans include taking bookings for celebratory events.

Shabnam Brown, head of the centre, told the licensing committee said she also lives on-site and would only want to see responsible bookings.

She said: “To the neighbours, we do want to work with you, we don’t want to be disruptive. Some of us live there as well, we have children like you do. We want to enjoy our weekends as well – I don’t work weekends all the time. So I do understand your concerns.

“We will give you an out-of-hours contact number. You will have a dispersal policy in place. We will do all we can to make it work for all of us.”

Tony Lomas, who lives opposite, said the control of noise was the biggest issue facing residents – adding that they already have to live with what they see as intrusive levels of noise coming from the campsite.

He said: “We have lived here for 21 years and broadly, happily with the campsite opposite and it is delightful to see people using the facilities over there.

“We broadly support it and there are all sorts of other things that could happen that would be worse.

“But noise is a pest and a burden on us all, particularly at weekends. During the week we hear people’s tractors sand lawnmowers and whatever. But the weekend is the time we are all off work and expect it to be peaceful.

“So the control of noise is the biggest issue for me, not least because we are at the front of the house and the gardens are at the front of the house.

“What happens at the campsite on occasion when it gets so loud it is very intrusive, that can happen again with this licence. Conditions around that is absolutely paramount.”

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Sebastian Mann

Local democracy reporter