After being lucky enough to be able to report nothing but good news so far, I didn't enjoy writing this statement for Islington MIll yesterday. Our cities are only going to get more developed and congested and loud. Art and music and innovation cannot be the fall guy in this situation. What is the solution?
"Just as Islington Mill has taken a giant step forward with our successful Arts Council bid, we are simultaneously being restrained by a complaint about patron noise which has resulted in the Statutory Noise Nuisance notice under a 7 day deferral from Salford City Council. The suddenness of this development seems to negate the efforts we have previously made to work with the Council and residents at monitoring the impact of sound from our courtyard and main entrance. These efforts appear to have not made any tangible difference, hence our current urgent circumstances.
Our case is under review and any further complaints during the assessment period would seriously threaten our license, hence Dopplereffekt (Fri 8 August) will now take place at Antwerp Mansion and Cowbell presents Daniel Avery / A Love From Outer Space / Craig Bratley (Sat 9 August) will also be at Antwerp Mansion. Events like these feature the creators of some of our favourite music and we were proud to be able to host them in the City of Salford. However, the short term actions necessary to stage the events without jeopardising our license would mean we would not able to host them to the best of our ability. Artist and audience experience is something we value extremely highly and we don’t want to compromise it for any reason.
There is a high possibility that the outcome of our review will include some kind of revision to our 24-hour license. We are sensitive to the needs of our neighbours and keen to avoid animosity and upset, and to that end we have submitted an extensive proposal of short-term and longer-term methods to limit the impact of sound and outdoor activity on our neighbours. These include additional soundproof doors, on-site sound-monitoring engineers, exterior and interior structural alterations, new taxi arrangements, and many other suggestions. In short, in terms of what we are willing to do to keep our current license, we have shown ourselves willing to consider every possible avenue, and we hope the Council and residents will appreciate this.
However, with all of the discussions around regeneration and increased footfall to the Chapel Street area – which centres around the Mill and which underpinned our successful expansion bid – we are left in a state of some confusion as to how an independent arts venue with a 24-hour license is meant to operate under an ethos of experimentation and spontaneity with a series of caveats and compromises that effectively curtails our ability to operate the way that we do. Islington Mill is not just a bar or a club or a gig venue (but is a unique and dynamic mixed use space within which artists are encouraged to develop and expand their work and present new and stimulating and inspiring work to a wide public, demonstrating on a daily basis that people can do great things, that things are possible in Salford. The recognition from Arts Council England and Salford City Council, investment in our long-term future consistently acknowledges this.
We are working hard to find appropriate and workable solutions to these problems in the immediate as well as the long term and we will keep you all informed of developments. If any of our friends or followers have experience in this area or technical knowledge they would like to share with us, our doors are open, and our doors will remain open to all, so please continue to check out our programme of events that are still happening. Thank you."