Night and Day has to turn itself down between 11pm-3am but what about the rest of Oldham Street?

I had a friend who bought a flat in Brighton several years ago. It was freshly decorated and at a very reasonable, almost too reasonable price. About two weeks after moving in he met another flat owner on the stairs who asked if he was ok with living there. My friend was puzzled.

Turns out there had been a violent murder in the flat, blood everywhere, hence the redecoration. The estate agent had omitted to mention that detail and had been under no obligation to do so, nor had the flat got a big sign on it advertising the gruesome fact.

This seems a compromise that should work

Night and Day always advertised itself as a live music and club venue even during lockdown when it couldn't function. Caveat emptor, buyer beware, and all that. 

The row over loud music in the venue with regard to the complaints of a party wall resident is one of THOSE Manchester city centre rows that becomes tedious through repetition. The whinges include Piccadilly Gardens, a lack of green space, too many tall towers, crap traffic management and Night and Day.

This week a ruling came through about Night and Day which may finally break this particular bone of contention and bury it in the back garden of gripes. Well, maybe. 

Gig At Night And Day Credit Manchester Confidential
Gig at Night and Day Image: Confidentials

District Judge Margaret McCormack said: “In an ideal world, a balance would be able to be struck in the ability of the resident to enjoy their property and the venue to operate as a going concern. Sadly, due to a faulty party wall this is not possible."

So, Night and Day can continue to open as a nightclub but there will be noise-limiting restrictions in place so it limits noise to a "reasonable, practicable level".

Night and Day has 28 days to make the changes. 

This does not mean the regular evening live music will have to be turned down but that DJ run club nights will have to muzzle and muffle themselves somewhat between 11pm to 3am on Fridays and Saturdays.

These seems a compromise that should work although it seems a shame the complainant should gain this Pyrrhic victory. Unlike my friend in the murder house he must have known the lockdown would end and the music would return. Unless he was really stupid. And the property owner who put in that party wall is equally to blame. 

As Jay Taylor of the Music Venue Trust who lived in the city centre for many years said in Lucy Tomlinson’s article way back in 2021: “It's worth saying that most of the people in the Northern Quarter live there with a very realistic view of what that entails. They understand the soundscape. They understand the ups and downs of that neighbourhood.”

Night And Day Front By Ben Smithson
Night and Day by Ben Smithson Image: Ben Smithson

Judge McCormack also stated that while the Northern Quarter is a "lively, vibrant area…Manchester was evolving” and has now “mixed use”, in other words residential and commercial. This reason for the noise abatement order is not much of an argument as the Northern Quarter has been mixed use for forty years. 

This raises a side issue not directly related to Night and Day. The Northern Quarter is hardly Soho, there are loads of derelict or empty properties further up Oldham Street and across the district. Back Piccadilly and Spear Street are a mess. Anything that threatens established businesses such as Night and Day is a worry because the area desperately needs them.

Development of the older properties which gives the place character has seemingly leapt the Northern Quarter into Ancoats, which looks and feels both cleaner and safer. There are new infill schemes across the district but it seems owners of many of the older buildings are sitting on them and allowing them to moulder. 

2024 03 19 Oldham Street Night And Day Article 3
The City pub is rotting away Image: Confidentials

A case in point is the 220-year-old City pub on Oldham Street which according to the Land Registry is owned by the Special Ale Service of Chorley but has been closed for a couple of years and is in a terrible state. 

Developers and owners like to start with a clean slate, cleared ground, such as that at One Port Street, but retro-fitting old property stock, with their awkward or too small floor plates is clearly not a priority. 

Many people might like the grubby, scruffy quality of the Northern Quarter but the area would be much better if many more of the older properties could gain some of the investment pouring into former surface car parks destined to become bland blocks of flats.

Night and Day will survive this noise abatement order and is an example of good use of a building originally built as a shop. Owners such as the Special Ale Service with the City pub need to get fully SAS and do something about their rundown properties, late night loud music or not. 

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