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Sound advice taken by upmarket Nairn hotel after noise warning

By Donna MacAllister

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Club House Hotel general manager Fraser Fotheringham alongside duty managers Kirstin McGrath (left) and Jenna Hayden.
Club House Hotel general manager Fraser Fotheringham alongside duty managers Kirstin McGrath (left) and Jenna Hayden.

A HIGH-FLYING Highland hotel has been given a rocket for causing a racket.

Now, it has has hired a sound expert to protect neighbours from noise caused by loud music and drunken revellers and will fork out £7,000 on high quality sound-proofing measures.

The Club House Hotel in Nairn’s upmarket Seabank Road, where film star Tilda Swinton has lived for more than a decade, hired a sound engineer after complaints from neighbours threatened to jeopardise its operating license.

General manager Fraser Fotheringham, who recently-completed a £700,000 face-lift of the 14-bed premises, is heeding the advice of a sound professional and taking noise calming measures.

Mr Fotheringham was hauled before the Highland Licensing Committee this week and has been slapped with a written warning.

He pledged to do everything he could to stop disturbing his neighbours.

Two air conditioning units are being installed, windows and doors will be alarmed to stop patrons from opening them, staff are being trained on how to use noise monitoring probes and in-built sound sensors will automatically cut music if the sounds breaches levels to be agreed with Highland Council’s environmental health team.

Mr Fortheringham hopes this will appease his neighbours who border him on all four sides – but he fears for the future of the venture.

He said: "Since we took over in 2011 we have spent £700,000 on the property and we bought it for just under £700,000. And this is going to cost another £7,000.

"But this is not going to be the end of it because I do not think they (the neighbours) are going to support us, no matter what we do."

The details of the complaints came to light at a meeting of the licensing board in Inverness on Tuesday.

Ian Cox, licensing standards officer, told the board The Club House was an "excellent hotel" and "one of the best boutique hotels that I have the pleasure of having within my patch".

However, he said the hotel’s geographical location within a very densely populated residential district of Nairn had led to "a long history" of complaints.

Two of the residents who complained attended Tuesday’s meeting.

Lisbet Christensen, a resident of 38 years, said the noise from live and music and patrons at wedding functions and other big parties was "sheer hell".

She said: "I have endured many very bad nights and disturbance."

Brian Stewart, of Albert Street, said it could not go on.

Nairn councillor Liz MacDonald said: "I think the Club House is a really good facility and it provides a really good service in the town. Even the objectors here today say it is regrettable it’s come to this and I think we all need to work together and try and find a positive way forward with goodwill and communication and with Ian Cox keeping us all right because it is a tremendous facility."

The hotel has been issued with a written warning and the licence is being varied to require a noise management plan to be drawn up.

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