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6th February 2024

“Declaration of war:” Night & Day Cafe’s legal dispute continues

The original noise abatement notice was filed in 2021, but Night & Day is again in court to opposed the council’s complaints
“Declaration of war:” Night & Day Cafe’s legal dispute continues
Credit: Mark Waugh @

The legal dispute over noise complaints between Manchester city council and Night & Day Cafe music venue has again gone to court.

A noise abatement notice was originally submitted to the venue by the Manchester city council in 2021. 

The original complainant moved into a near-by flat during the Covid-19 pandemic and proceeded to submit a noise complaint when the venue reopened post-lockdown. They argued that club nights during the weekend were going on till late and causing noise issues.

The resident in question has since moved out of the flat.

During the latest 3-day hearing, the defence argued that the apartment’s vacancy and no previous complaints show the unlikelihood of a future nuisance

The venue owner Jennifer Smithson has previously questioned the legitimacy of the complaint and stated that a lack of proper noise study before building the flats is the root issue.  

Concerns have arisen over the consequences that a ruling in the council’s favour would have on the local economy as similar cases may be brought against other music venues in the area.

Sarah Clover, barrister representing the cafe, told the court, “What we have just heard is a declaration of war by this council, not just on Night & Day, but on the whole of their night time economy at such a desperate time for this industry. That’s a tragedy.”

The historic Northern Quarter venue gained notoriety in the 1990s for supporting the live music scene in Manchester. It has become a staple of the Manchester indie music scene with bands like Wet Leg and Arctic Monkeys playing.

A petition, started in November 2021, has reached 99,000+ signatures and asks that the noise abatement notice be removed from Night & Day. 

The petition argues that “ill-considered planning” is the root cause and that Night & Day should not be labelled “as a nuisance.” Similar venues in the area along with musicians and local music lovers have all expressed their support as well as their outrage at the council’s continued legal case. 

The case is ongoing, with a judge’s decision anticipated within the next two weeks. 

A spokesperson for Manchester City Council said:
“From the outset of this case the Council has worked tirelessly to reach an agreement which would ensure the long-term prosperity of this venue, as well as enabling us to meet our legal obligation to prevent noise nuisance.

“It is deeply regrettable that even after prolonged debate, in-house testing and discussion we were not able to reach an amicable agreement, and that it will ultimately be decided through the courts. This is not a scenario the Council ever wished to end up in. Over the last six months in particular, extensive testing has been carried out to try and find an acceptable level of sound. And, while the Council felt this had been reached, this was not reciprocated by the venue.

“Manchester City Council is entirely committed to promoting and supporting the arts and nighttime economy in the city. There is a proud tradition and deep musical heritage to be found here, and we have proudly championed this sector for decades.

“Through Manchester Music City the Council is working with partners to promote and enhance the music sector, as well as how to foster the grassroots scene as the next generation of musical talent emerges.

“Although this conclusion is not one that we ever desired, the Council will await the final decision of the judge.”

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