A public meeting will be held at Bristol’s Thekla on Wednesday, December 6th to look at how music venues in the city can be safeguarded.
The iconic floating nightclub and music venue is currently at the heart of a campaign to protect its long-term future as nearby property developments could cause issues, as they have done for other venues in the city and beyond.
There is recent precedent for venues losing out when residents raise complaints. Earlier this autumn The Surrey Vaults, on Avon Street, closed after luxury apartments were built nearby and residents there submitted noise complaints.
There is also an ongoing campaign to preserve the art studios and creative spaces of Hamilton House, which could also become largely residential apartments.
Wednesday’s event at The Thekla – which will be led by the Night Time Industries Association – will take an in-depth look at the challenges facing venues as the rise of residential planning applications in city centres brings the night-time economy into conflict with residents.
The meeting, which will start at 6.30pm, will feature a question and answer session on Thekla’s future followed by a panel discussion which will examine how a ‘360 degree’ approach which involves the night time industry, the police, local authority and residents can all be involved in possible solutions.
Julie Tippins from DHP Family, who run Thekla, said: “We are very pleased to be hosting this NTIA event which will focus on a very hot topic for us – the issues venues face with the increasing number of residential development in city centres.
“DHP Family understands the housing pressure the country and particularly young people face and why local authorities are keen to see as much residential development as possible to ease the problem and meet targets set by government.
“This should be done in a cooperative way with existing bars, venues and clubs to ensure their future is not jeopardised as a consequence. The key is to find ways to work together to overcome the challenges.”
Planning permission was granted for a residential development of flats on the opposite bank of the river despite serious concerns raised by DHP Family of the lack of an adequate noise survey. There are fears the Thekla could be forced to close due to potential noise complaints from the Redcliffe Wharf flats if the developer fails to put in enough soundproofing to protect its residents.
Ms Tippins added: “We are pleased that the developer of Redcliffe Wharf has verbally and in writing committed to a new noise survey and we wait for them to provide us with the details of when and how this will be carried out so we can assist them in making this a robust evaluation, which can protect both the Thekla and residents in the future.”
The Q&A element of the evening will involve Julie Tippins, Head of Compliance, DHP Family and Alan Miller, Chairman, NTIA, addressing questions on the Thekla position
Confirmed panel members for Wednesday include Tom Paine (Motion, Love Saves The Day); Leighton De Burca (Nite Watch Placemaker Bristol) and John Hirst (Bristol BID) with further guests to be announced shortly.
Alan Miller, NTIA, said: “We are very excited to be doing this joint event with Thekla in Bristol. In so many ways, Thekla represents the beating heart of creativity and a part of the special magic that makes up Bristol.
“Bristol, which has given so much in terms of musical and artistic contribution, needs to ensure there is a smart Urban Master Plan so development can happen for much needed new housing while our cultural destinations can continue to flourish together.”
The event is open to the public. To reserve a place, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your full name. Attendees are encouraged to arrive at 6pm for a 6.30pm start.
Anyone wanting to show their support is invited to post on socials using #savethekla and #savenightlife