Sour note for Mirfield church in ‘noisy neighbour’ row

SOUR NOTE: Mirfield vicar Hugh Baker outside St Mary's parish church hall - centre of a row over noisy musical events. (d17031142)
SOUR NOTE: Mirfield vicar Hugh Baker outside St Mary's parish church hall - centre of a row over noisy musical events. (d17031142)

A CASH lifeline for a Mirfield church could be at risk in a ‘noisy neighbour’ row.

A family living near St Mary’s church hall have called time on loud music at some events at the centre.

Solicitor James Hartley has brought in Kirklees Council in a bid to get the church to tone things down.

And for now events involving music are off the agenda at the Church Lane venue, with some organisations having to cancel fund-raising dates.

Mr Hartley says it’s a case of ‘do as you would be done by’.

But St Mary’s vicar the Rev Hugh Baker said: “It is a shame this has happened. But that’s the world we live in.”

A party for schoolchildren, a Probus Club meeting with a guest singer and a charity concert for the RNLI have all been casualties of the ban.

Mr Hartley said the situation had worsened in the past 18 months. “The hall is now a bit of a night-club,” he said. “We don’t object to it being used for normal events. But there are rooms in our house which we can’t use when a music event is on.

“There is only one answer, and it’s do as you would be done by.”

Mr Hartley said Kirklees Council could close the hall down if rules continued to be breached. “That would not give me any pleasure,” he said. “Using the hall for such things as cub meetings is great. Using it as a late-night club is the problem.”

The hall brings up to 20per cent of total income through hire charges and has become popular as a community venue.

There was trouble at an event for teenagers last August when things ‘got out of hand’. The church admitted supervision could have been better and that it ‘got it wrong’.

Mr Baker said: “The hall is not soundproofed and Mr Hartley says he is disturbed during musical events.”

As the council investigates, the church is reviewing the frequency of music dates. “We were getting bookings almost on a weekly basis,” he said. “We don’t want to disturb our neighbours but these events are important to church revenue.”

Frank Wright, Probus Club events organiser, said: “We had to cancel an event for 90 people who would have been gone by 10.45pm. We were hardly going to be screaming our heads off.

“Mr Hartley knew there was a hall nearby when he bought his house. Now we have nowhere to go. It’s ludicrous. The effort to keep Mirfield as a community is being stifled by one man.”

The RNLI had to find a new venue for their swing band concert with just two weeks notice.

A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “We have had complaints about noise from Mirfield parish church hall and have witnessed noise at levels likely to cause a disturbance. The council is talking to the people responsible for the hall and is seeking an amicable arrangement by trying to work with them to limit the number of events which have amplified music.

“Routine hall use such as for Scouts, Guides, day and evening classes and the pantomime should not be affected.”