ENRAGED residents have slammed a "mind-boggling" council decision to shut down a charity event after just three neighbours complained.
The tiny handful of locals kicked up a fuss about the potential noise from the pub hosting the fundraiser so the local authority all but called it off completely.
Maxine Demetriou, manager of The West Town Inn on Hayling Island, Hampshire, was issued with a letter following protests over a concert held there last summer.
Three people moaned about the live band performing in the beer garden as part of the bash.
The 58-year-old said she was this year warned about the sound levels and ordered to set up a "noise management plan" – including using a decibel meter to measure the music volume.
However, Havant Borough Council said this "fell short of what is required" and landlady Maxine was forced to cancel the gig, scheduled for last week and due to raise money for the local community.
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Livid neighbours and pubgoers have since brushed off the "storm in a tea cup" complaints, insisting they have no issue with the "noise".
Captain Barry Swindells, who lives directly opposite, said he's lived there for 25 years and "had no problems".
The 91-year-old, a former merchant mariner, added: "Nobody over here’s even mentioned it.
"They’ll be complaining about my television next because I have to turn it up loud as I can’t hear well.
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"I'm sure it's just newcomers trying to change everything.
"I've got an old banjo upstairs which makes a hell of a racket – that would force them out."
Barry's neighbour George Wilson, who has called the island home all his life, described the decision as "mind-boggling".
"I just can’t get my head around it," he said.
"It’s mind boggling – the neighbours who complained have bought a house next door to a builders' merchants and yet they're complaining about a bit of music from the pub.
"They’ve even been complaining about people laughing in the garden."
The 29-year-old groundworker added: "Why don’t they just have fun and watch the drunk people?"
I just can’t get my head around it.
Debbie Drinkwater, 63 and her mum, Gwyneth White, 84, have been visiting their local pub for years and "love the music".
"We come here every week and whenever there’s live music,” Debbie, a health and social care worker, said.
"It's a real shame they had to cancel."
And Lolly Gresty, 52, a sign painter from Eastleigh, asked: "Why are people bloody moaning for no reason?
"It’s not like the noise just sprung up one day.
"I like a bit of human sound after being shut in a box during the pandemic.
"Pubs have been hit so badly and we need to support them.
"Is it really the end of the world if there’s a bit of music?"
The event, known as Hi-Fest, was a free music festival held across seven different venues on Hayling Island.
More than 70 artists were due to perform, all in aid of the local community.
Havant Borough Council said that licensed pubs have a duty to control excess noise to avoid public nuisance.
A spokesperson added: "As regards The West Town Inn, complaints of excessive noise were received last summer.
"Council officers heard the noise for themselves when they inspected the premises at around that time.
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"It was agreed with the individual responsible for the running of the pub that she would provide the council with a noise management plan.
"Unfortunately the plan received fell short of what is required, and the council has therefore asked for the revised version to be supplied."
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