JD Wetherspoon plc is planning to erect a 43ft high sound barrier to reduce noise from its outside dining and beer garden space at its Keavan’s Port hotel in Dublin.
In April of last year, the pub operator, which has its headquarters in the UK, temporarily closed the courtyard-beer garden at its 89-bedroom Camden Street hotel after complaints from local residents over noise levels from its operation.
The pub firm – which operates eight premises in the Republic – had earlier received a planning enforcement warning letter from Dublin City Council in December 2021 concerning noise levels from the courtyard.
A submission connected to the new acoustic barrier planning application lodged with the city council said the courtyard would remain shut until a solution could be identified to resolve the noise control issue.
The submission said the closure of the courtyard demonstrated JD Wetherspoon’s commitment to being a good neighbour and working with residents to resolve issues whenever they may arise.
The submission, by planning consultants Brock McClure, added: “However, in doing so, JD Wetherspoon have since experienced significant financial impact, as a consequence of closing their courtyard. In addition to reducing staff numbers, our client has also had to significantly reduce customer occupancy, leading to a loss in business and sales.”
In a bid to overcome the issue, the hospitality firm employed acoustic experts Enfonic which has recommended the erection of the 13.2m (43.3ft) high and 8.1m (26.5ft) wide sound barrier that would be finished with rockpanel wood panelling.
As part of the process, Enfonic erected a temporary noise barrier at the courtyard boundary and produced noise to replicate patrons in the courtyard which has a permitted capacity for 244.
Brock McClure said the Enfonic assessment found that “the height of a suitable barrier is critical to its performance and a variety of configurations were considered. It was concluded that a barrier with a height of between 13 metres and 14 metres would provide the required performance.”
In its 26-page planning report, the consultant said “the barrier has been developed to protect all people who will live, work or engage in other activities in the immediate vicinity of the courtyard from noise disturbance from the outside seating area”.
Brock McClure said a post-construction monitoring programme would be critical to the success of the proposed solution.
The consultants state the design and scale of the barrier was appropriate for the site and was entirely reversible and could be removed in the future as necessary.
A decision is due on the application in July.