A BID to hold more wedding receptions at a historic barn has been rejected after concerns were raised about noise and drunken revellers.
Titchfield Festival Theatre, which runs the Tithe Barn – often known as the Great Barn – in Mill Lane, Titchfield was originally granted permission to hold 14 weddings a year by Fareham Borough Council in 2013 with strict conditions.
Yesterday the council’s planning committee considered an application to vary those conditions, allowing it to hold more weddings, put marquees up in the grounds and leave garden furniture out permanently.
But councillors unanimously rejected the proposal after hearing from neighbours, who were upset about how loud the wedding reception parties have been.
Jeremy Cobben, who has lived nearby for more than 40 years, said: ‘The advent of wedding receptions in the barn has changed our lives.’
He said that other events held at the barn, such as theatrical performances, caused no problems but that wedding receptions were too noisy and more ‘akin to a nightclub’.
Another neighbour, Mick Budnyj, said he found the parties disruptive.
He said: ‘The wedding parties go on well in to the evening. As you can imagine, there’s lots of people hanging around with alcoholic drinks.
‘People spill out of the barn and the original restrictions were that they would stay in the barn but they don’t.’
Kevin Fraser, from Titchfield Festival Theatre, spoke at the meeting.
He said that allowing the company to hold more wedding receptions would bring in more money, which would be put back in to the barn and into the work its does for the community, such as amateur dramatics.
Mr Fraser admitted that the last two years had been a ‘learning curve’ but he said the noise was greatly reduced by 8pm and they were going to put in a noise limiter.
The committee heard that a noise abatement notice had been served by environmental health in August after four incidents were logged this year.
It also heard there were three incidents recorded in 2014.
The council received 66 letters in support of the application and seven letters against, including an objection from the Fareham Society.
One supporter, David Clarke, from Fareham, spoke at the meeting.
He said: ‘The theatre has proven to a valuable asset to the people of Fareham for many years by providing facilities for members of the public to enjoy and its members to perform and learn the skills of dramatic art.
‘It’s the only company that I know that is fully inclusive in encouraging anyone who wants to be involved in this art.’
Councillors debated the item before unanimously rejecting it.
Speaking after the meeting, Mr Fraser vowed to take the decision to an appeal.