A live music pub subject to repeated noise complaints from neighbours will be able to stay open if it installs a noise limiter device, councillors have agreed.

An Enfield Council licensing sub-committee heard on Wednesday (February 7) that The Fox pub in Palmers Green had been subject to 12 noise complaints between June 2023 and January 2024.

Complaints had come from residents at a newly-built block of flats, One Fox Lane, which directly adjoins the pub in Green Lanes.

This prompted a licence review and led to live music events being cancelled this year – but more than 2,000 people later signed a petition to save the pub’s premises licence.

Residents and neighbours affected by the noise were represented at the meeting along with representatives of The Fox.

Austin Whelan of Whelan’s Pubs, which runs The Fox, said manager James Sharkey had taken the situation “quite hard” with Austin telling him to “have ten days away”.

Enfield Independent: The Fox pub in Green Lanes, Palmers GreenThe Fox pub in Green Lanes, Palmers Green

Austin claimed he’d “never had” these problems at any of the other pub sites his company operated and said: “I’ve invested £500,000 in this property, so this isn’t a good experience for me in any format.”

The Fox underwent major refurbishment before reopening in February 2023, for the first time in five years, under the new management of Whelan’s Pubs.

Austin said he understood the residents’ position and mentioned the pressure of having his character questioned, and that this situation was “causing us all problems”.

He said: “From a management point of view I think we’ve done a very, very good job, we’ve got something there when there hasn’t been for a long time. We’ve put stability back in the community, we’ve got a function that’s there for the whole community, that’s why it’s kept its licence.”

Cllr Doug Taylor, a ward councillor for Palmers Green, said he took into account the views of residents at One Fox Lane as well as residents who did not want to see the pub close.

Cllr Taylor said it would be “unacceptable” for residents to continue to experience the noise levels recorded and that it should be in the committee’s interest to prioritise their complaints. 

While the Labour councillor said he “welcomed” a trial of the noise limiter device proposed by the pub’s management, he added this may not resolve all noise issues and that some extra sound proofing on top of the noise limiter may be required.

Announcing the decision for The Fox to retain its licence, committee chair Cllr Mahym Bedekova said: “The licensing sub-committee reminds the applicant [that] if the issues continue concerning noise nuisance or other breaches to the licensing conditions, these matters may be brought for further review.”