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Manchester’s Night & Day to continue as music venue and nightclub after lengthy court battle

Manchester’s iconic Night & Day is to continue as a music venue and nightclub, following a noise complaint and lengthy court battle.

The future of the iconic space was thrown into question over the past couple of years, after it faced a noise complaint from a resident who had moved to Manchester during the lockdown.

Now, after over 94,000 people signed a petition to remove the Noise Abatement Notice (NAN) – including Johnny Marr, New Order, Courteeners, Frank Turner, Mogwai and more – and a reported £160,000 in court fees, it has been ruled that the venue can continue to operate.

Following four rounds of hearings, District Judge Margaret McCormack announced her ruling during a Manchester Magistrates’ court hearing today (March 18).

In her ruling (via Manchester Evening News), she said that a nuisance was being created by the venue, particularly due to it running from 11am to 3am on Friday and Saturday nights. That being said, she did go on to state that the Northern Quarter is a “lively, vibrant” area, but as the city evolves, its “usages are changing” – which means the area can now be considered mixed-use.

“In an ideal world, a balance would be able to be struck in the ability of the resident to enjoy their property and the venue to operate as a going concern. Sadly, due to a faulty party wall this is not possible,” McCormack said.

The judge also said that her two options were to either dismiss the appeal or vary the notice, and she opted for the latter.

As highlighted by Manchester Evening News, the variation put forward was called “test profile one”, and is a set of restrictions put upon Night & Day.

Henry Dartnall of The Young Knives performs at Night and Day on October 6, 2007 in Manchester, England CREDIT: Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage/Getty Images)

“I am satisfied that this is a reasonable, practicable level which could be offered by sealed sound limiters to seal music levels. I am told the existing sound system can achieve this aim,” she continued. “I therefore amend the NAN [to say] Friday and Saturday use should not exceed the levels of test one. The measures are to be taken by professional acousticians and sealed in the system.”

The venue has previously claimed that the restrictions would limit over 50 per cent of its events. It now has 28 days to make the required changes.

At the end of January this year, promoters revealed that they hoped that the threat of closure will be lifted, and went on to claim that the city’s council was declaring “war” on local nightlife and culture with the legal action.

As well as the 94,000 people who signed a petition to remove the Noise Abatement Notice, The Charlatans‘ Tim Burgess – who was instrumental in saving Manchester’s Gorilla and Deaf Institute through the pandemic – also told NME why it was essential to fight back against this complaint.

Similarly, Elbow frontman Guy Garvey described Night & Day as an “essential” independent venue “that took it upon themselves to look after the city’s music and art” – telling NME that he was “hugely disappointed in the council” – and The 1975’s Matty Healy said it was “like moving to Leicester Square and complaining about there being too many cinemas”.

Miles Kane performs as part of The Rascals at Night and Day on October 21, 2007 in Manchester, England
Miles Kane performs as part of The Rascals at Night and Day on October 21, 2007 in Manchester, England (Photo by Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage/Getty Images)

The partner of the man who raised the noise complaint against Night & Day told a court that he’d become a “recluse” and lost 30kg due to stress.

News of the 2021 complaint against the Manchester venue came after it won a battle against a separate noise complaint back in 2014.

It is now just one of countless grassroots venues that have come under threat, and the Music Venue Trust have warned that gig spaces in the UK are “going over a cliff” without urgent government action.

Towards the end of 2023, there was a stark warning that the UK was set to lose 10 per cent of its grassroots music venues, and MVT ended the year by telling NME how 2023 was the “worst year for venue closures” while “no one in music industry seems to care”.

The problem continues to grow in 2024, and last month a new report was published showing the “disaster” that struck the UK’s grassroots music venues in 2023. Among the key findings was that 125 UK venues abandoned live music and that over half of them had shut entirely – including the legendary Moles in Bath.

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