A Heavenly Noise

A 600 member strong London Church won its legal battle this week against Lambeth Borough Council in a last minute out of court settlement.

The All Nations Centre in Kennington was served by Lambeth Council with a noise abatement notice on 25 September 2009, preventing the Church from amplifying their music or sermons to the congregation on threat of prosecution.

Although the Church has been at its current location for over 45 years, a small number of residents began complaining to the Council about noise levels shortly after the Church began a leaflet drop in the local community. A noise abatement notice was then served against the Church in September without any warning or discussion.

Church leaders believed the timing of the notice and the procedural irregularities meant that there were motives involved in the case. In October 2009, senior Pastor Abraham Sackey said: “The complaint has nothing to do with the noise and everything to do with our faith. Lambeth Council are driving us out and we feel harassed.”

The Church sought the advice of the Christian Legal Centre. The All Nations Centre decided to go to court with the help of the Christian Legal Centre in order to appeal the notice issued against them but at the last minute the notice was withdrawn.

CLC has noted the increasing use of Noise Abatement Notices being used to effectively to categorise worship or the singing of hymns as Noise Pollution.

Local MP Kate Hoey has backed the Church throughout. In December 2009 she said:

“They have been serving the local community for many years, consistently helping to improve the quality of life and overall well-being of people within the local community … It was therefore with a mixture of surprise and concern that I learned that they were served with a noise abatement notice.”

Posted on Absolvitor: Scots Law Online.

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