Sound House concerts get green light

Douglas Robertson's gigs proved controversial. Picture: Jane Barlow
Douglas Robertson's gigs proved controversial. Picture: Jane Barlow
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A PHOTOGRAPHER banned from holding underground concerts at his home is to be allowed to host bands again following a decision by the Scottish Government.

City licensing chiefs pulled the plug on the Sound House – which showcases acts on a makeshift stage in an Abbeyhill living room – because the noise levels were disturbing residents and breached its residential status.

Based in a ground-floor converted shop in Royal Park Terrace, each gig attracted up to 50 revellers and while it operated a strict 11pm closing policy, council officials said it was at odds with the quiet family surroundings and vowed to “protect residential properties”.

Performances had seen the likes of Shetland fiddler Kevin Henderson and Rob Morsberger, who has worked with Patti Smith and the Crash Test Dummies.

Owner Douglas Robertson, 59, applied for a Certificate of Lawfulness to allow him to keep holding the music nights but it was turned down by the council.

But he appealed to Scottish Ministers in a bid to overturn the ban after he was served with an enforcement notice.

They have now told him that the gigs can continue as long as they are not held frequently, the numbers attending are reduced and the noise levels do not disturb neighbours.

Douglas said: “I am very pleased with the decision, it’s terrific.

“The Government have decided that somebody does have the right to have little concerts for their friends within their own home.

“We had already decided to scale back the concerts anyway as they had gotten to ridiculous levels.

“This could all have been done through negotiation and discussion rather than the heavy-handed approach of enforcement action.

“This will allow the council to get on with more important things instead of hanging about outside my house.”

In a written ruling, Scottish government planning reporter Robert Maslin said banning all concerts at the flat was “excessive”.

He said: “The requirement to cease concerts shall not prevent use of the property for concerts given by musicians for the purpose of entertaining the occupier and persons known by the occupier, provided such concerts are not held at frequent intervals, are attended by no more than a limited number of persons and are conducted in a manner that does not cause unacceptable disturbance to neighbours.”

Revellers attending earlier concerts had been asked for a suggested £10 donation fee, with all proceeds going directly to the artists.

The venue also played host to the late Dundee musician Michael Marra.