Mu­sic ban bar is fight­ing to sur­vive

Middleton Guardian - - FRONT PAGE - HE­LEN JOHN­SON

APOPULAR town cen­tre cock­tail bar says it is fight­ing to sur­vive - be­cause it is not al­lowed to play mu­sic af­ter 8pm.

XOXO Cock­tail Lounge in Mar­ket Place is li­censed to stay open un­til mid­night, but has been told that it must not play mu­sic be­yond eight.

Rochdale Bor­ough Coun­cil says the 8pm cut off was im­posed as a con­di­tion of plan­ning per­mis­sion for the lounge be­fore it even opened.

But owner Tracy Mundy, whose daugh­ter Terri Lea West­bury El­cock is the li­censee, is adamant that they were not made aware of this at the time, as they would have con­tested it if they knew.

She says that their li­cence states that they can open, and play mu­sic, be­tween 12pm and 12am and were left stunned when the is­sue only came to light af­ter just one noise com­plaint.

When reg­u­lars at the lounge found out about the sit­u­a­tion, they hosted their own sing-along to show their sup­port.

But Tracy fears that peo­ple will even­tu­ally get fed up of not hav­ing any mu­sic and the busi­ness will suf­fer as a re­sult.

Now Tracy and her fam­ily, who opened the bar last De­cem­ber af­ter ren­o­vat­ing a for­merly derelict unit, are ap­ply­ing for per­mis­sion to play mu­sic past 8pm, but have been told it could be eight weeks be­fore they have an an­swer.

Tracy said: “You can’t ex­pect peo­ple to sit in si­lence. It’s very un­fair. We only ever play back­ground mu­sic - it’s not a rave.

“You can’t hear the mu­sic from out­side. The rea­son peo­ple like the bar is be­cause they don’t have to shout to make them­selves heard, they can have con­ver­sa­tions.

“It’s a com­mer­cial street. When we first opened we thought it was ei­ther all busi­ness or derelict units. It’s a street of busi­nesses but, un­be­knownst to us, we have peo­ple liv­ing next door.”

Tracy says the sit­u­a­tion is par­tic­u­larly frus­trat­ing, since the lounge and Terri are both nom­i­nated for Town Cen­tre Man­age­ment awards, in the best busi­ness and best busi­ness­woman cat­e­gories, re­spec­tively.

She added: “If we don’t get this mat­ter re­solved then we might not even make it to these awards

“If we won it, we’d be the first busi­ness in Mid­dle­ton in 27 years to win it.

“I just want them to give us a break. Apart from this, things have been go­ing so well.”

Mark Robin­son, the coun­cil’s as­sis­tant di­rec­tor for plan­ning and de­vel­op­ment, said: “We have re­ceived a com­plaint of mu­sic be­ing played in the bar af­ter 8pm, which would be a breach of its plan­ning con­di­tions.

“The bar own­ers are aware that mu­sic should not be played af­ter 8pm and our en­force­ment team is in­ves­ti­gat­ing.”

Ed­die Gar­vey

Terri Lea West­bury El­cock, li­censee of XOXO Coc­tail Lounge

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