CONTROVERSIAL proposals to double the number of weddings at a historic barn have been thrown out by councillors.
The plans by Titchfield Festival Theatre, which runs the Tithe Barn – also known as the Great Barn – were to see the Grade-I listed building hold up to 28 wedding ceremonies or functions a year.
I do not think it is possible to insulate the building. The noise is absolutely awfulCouncillor Nick Walker
This would have doubled the number from the previously-granted 14, which was approved in 2013.
As part of the proposals, the theatre said that it would install new solid oak barn doors and a sound curtain, and revamp the sound ceiling in an attempt to mitigate the noise from functions.
But Fareham Borough Council’s environmental health team had concerns.
And because the noise-mitigating measures were yet to be in place, the council’s planning committee unanimously rejected the proposal.
Cllr Roger Price said: ‘The application is premature.
‘I’d like to see the noise issues rectified properly before the number of ceremonies is extended.’
In total, 122 comments were received from people supporting the application, saying that it would benefit the theatre and that it would be against the public interest to not allow it.
Michael Knappett, of Bryan Jezeph consultancy, which submitted the application, defended the proposals.
He said: ‘Weddings have become very popular there since they were first introduced.
‘The applicant has since been working to improve noise mitigation and this would be installed before more weddings take place.
‘It will not erode the tranquillity of the area.’
Previous attempts to hold more than 14 weddings a year were rejected last October and following an appeal to the planning inspector. Conditions were imposed for the barn to only hold up to 14 a year.
Chairman of the planning committee Councillor Nick Walker, recalled being near the barn when a wedding was being held.
He said: ‘The noise was absolutely awful. There was shouting, screeching and it was very loud.
‘I don’t think it is possible to insulate the building.
‘I had my doubts when we first gave permission to grant weddings and I still have them now.’
Brenda Clapperton, of The Fareham Society added: ‘This number of weddings would mean one every Saturday between April and September, while the society is not against the principle of weddings being held there, we do not believe this number would be acceptable.’