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Rampant Horse in Needham Market faces legal fight to save outdoor music licence





A Suffolk landlady, who is fighting to save her pub’s outdoor music licence, says she could be left with thousands of pounds in legal fees after a council decided to seek a resolution to the issue in court.

Alison Wyartt runs the Rampant Horse, in Needham Market, which used to host live music shows every week to promote the town’s live music community as well as support the pub financially.

Following multiple noise complaints filed to Mid Suffolk District Council from residents who live nearby, the pub launched a petition in August 2023 to save their outdoor gigs which gained more than 2,000 signatures.

The Rampant Horse in Coddenham Road, Needham Market. Picture: Mark Westley
The Rampant Horse in Coddenham Road, Needham Market. Picture: Mark Westley

Despite this, the council’s licensing committee told the pub to limit the amount of shows to two per month with a total of 10 gigs throughout the year.

However, Mid Suffolk’s team of environmental protection officers wants to stop the outdoor music entirely as it is believed there is a continued danger of public nuisance as a result of excessive noise.

As the council is unable to come to a conclusion on the issue, it has decided to take the case to Suffolk Magistrates’ Court, in Ipswich, for a ‘fresh look’ in November – potentially costing Alison and her business partners thousands of pounds in court fees.

Landlady Alison Wyartt is frustrated over Mid Suffolk District Council’s decision to take the issue to Suffolk Magistrates’ Court. Picture by Mark Westley
Landlady Alison Wyartt is frustrated over Mid Suffolk District Council’s decision to take the issue to Suffolk Magistrates’ Court. Picture by Mark Westley

Alison said: “We’ve been told that we need to get a solicitor and a barrister for this meeting which is going to cost us thousands.

“We’re already been left out of pocket for cutting down the music but this is just getting ridiculous now.

“The district council and the environmental team all work together in Endeavour House – so why can’t it be held there? I just don’t understand why we need to go to magistrates.

“We are just utterly frustrated and really disappointed for all our customers. They’ve got behind us and supported us so much throughout this whole situation and we’re so grateful for them.”

The pub’s outdoor space which is transformed into a live music area. Picture: Mark Westley
The pub’s outdoor space which is transformed into a live music area. Picture: Mark Westley

The meeting at Suffolk Magistrates’ Court will be held on Wednesday, November 6 and a final decision will be made on whether the Rampant Horse can continue with its outdoor performances.

This decision will be either to dismiss the appeal, make a different decision or send the case back to Mid Suffolk with how the issue should be dealt with.

The pub will be going ahead with the 10 gigs for the year which was previously agreed.

A spokesperson for Mid Suffolk District Council said: “We are keen to support pubs in our district and want everyone to be able to enjoy themselves.

“We also have a legal duty to protect a pub’s neighbours if, in the professional opinion of our environment protection officers, there is a danger of continued public nuisance as a result of noise from outdoor performances.

”By asking the magistrates court to take a fresh look and decide on the best course of action we can be sure that we have a fair, enforceable, and legally safe outcome for both the council and local community.”