Permission Granted for Half Moon's Outdoor Terrace

Planning committee concludes conditions mitigate concerns about noise

A visualisation of the new terrace at the Half Moon submitted with the application
A visualisation of the new terrace at the Half Moon submitted with the application

August 24, 2023

A new outdoor terrace is set to open at the Putney pub famous as one of the capital’s oldest live music venues, despite neighbours’ fears customers will be able to see into their bedrooms. Wandsworth Council has approved the plans for The Half Moon where The Rolling Stones have performed.

The plans from pub chain Young’s include extending the venue’s first floor to create a new terrace with a retractable roof and spiral staircase. The appearance of the venue, on Lower Richmond Road, is also set to be revamped with fresh paint and minor redecoration.

The council’s planning committee approved the scheme on 22 August with extra conditions, including restricting the use of the spiral staircase to emergency purposes after 11pm. Councillors raised concerns about noise from the terrace at the meeting.

Labour councillor Leonie Cooper said, “I accept obviously that this is on a busy road, it’s near noisy things. But because it’s higher up and because immediately behind it there are all these flats… it seems to me that this could be very noisy.”

She added, “I do wonder whether we need to be more worried about the noise that may potentially come out of it when the roof is retracted as well as the use of the spiral staircase.”

But Nick Calder, head of development management at the council, said the extension would go up “rather than out and across” so would not cause “undue noise” when considered with the neighbouring 24-hour petrol station. He said, “I think, with the conditions that we’ve got on there, sufficient cover is there.” All windows and doors in the building must be closed after 11pm.

Neighbours had objected to the plans in letters to the council, with concerns about noise and the terrace overlooking flats in neighbouring John Keall House.

A representative of residents’ group Felsham Road Co-operative, an estate close to the pub, said, “There are a variety of residents on the estate from young families to elderly and disabled residents who will be greatly impacted by the increase of noise that will occur. This will be a particular issue in the warmer months of the year when our residents wish to have their windows open and use their gardens on the estate.”

She claimed there would be a “significant reduction” in privacy for people living in John Keall House “as the roof terrace will be overlooking residents’ bathrooms and bedrooms”.

Another objector, who has lived in John Keall House for 23 years, said her main objection to the application concerned noise. She said, “Due to recent refurbishments over the past two years, the noise level has drastically increased and is already at the point where local residents, including myself, cannot open windows as the music and loud crowd noise goes on until well after midnight.”

She added, “The proposed roof terrace area overlooks the bedrooms and bathrooms in my flat and other residents in John Keall House and will significantly impact our privacy.”

Another local claimed, “The proposal as outlined means that during the hours of operation I would have a large number of patrons overlooking into my flat giving me little to no privacy.”

The pub was rebuilt in 1903 and later transformed into a live music venue. A statement submitted with the application said it would be a “considerable investment” into the pub to “improve its long-term viability, making it more attractive and inviting for potential patrons”.

Another statement responding to the objections, submitted on behalf of the applicant, said the terrace would not overlook John Keall House as the side that backs onto the development would be non-glazed and have fanlights on top.

It also said the terrace would “not create any notable noise disturbance” for neighbours and its opening hours would likely match those of the existing outdoors area, which closes at 12am on Sundays to Thursdays and 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. It added the terrace would be managed by staff, with no amplified music allowed.

A report by council officers added the terrace and staircase would be at least 27 metres from windows at the back of John Keall House, “which is considered to be a sufficient distance to ensure views into these residential windows would be limited, and no unacceptable adverse privacy impact would occur”.

A Young’s spokesperson previously said, “Young’s takes its role as a neighbour seriously and the application has been supported by numerous technical assessments to ensure the proposed terrace is appropriate.”

Charlotte Lilywhite - Local Democracy Reporter


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