One new resident has filed a complaint to the bar and the council that the loud late-night music from the bar was affecting her sleep and work.
“May I suggest u guys to [sic] reduce the noise made by at least a half?,” she wrote in an email to the Cherry bar. “There are many working adults and students living in this apartment, so the noise produced by your bar [has] made it very difficult for us to rest at home after a long day of work.”
Cherry bar co-owner James Young said the bar was installing $100,000 worth of new soundproofing measures, which included double-bricking the back of the building, double-glazing the windows and changing the doors.
Mr Young said although he had received three email complaints in the past three weeks, no one else had complained about noise in the bar’s 14-year history.
Mr Young said Cherry bar would close over his “dead body”.
“Imagine the irony of us being closed by one person in one new apartment,” he said. “It’s like moving to Antarctica then complaining about the cold.”
A City of Melbourne spokeswoman confirmed the council had received “a small number of complaints” about noise from Cherry bar.
The spokeswoman said the developers of the new residential building had needed to demonstrate the apartment complex would have “appropriate” levels of sound proofing, which would have taken into account any “existing noise” from Cherry bar at the time.
“The initial focus of our investigation into this matter will be to ensure the soundproofing on the residential building has met the requirements set out in the planning approval.”
The noise complaints have come in the wake of the state government’s “agent of change” planning reforms, which have aimed better to protect music venues from noise complaints made by residents of new developments.
Under the new rules, which took effect last month, new residential developments – particularly those within 50 metres of a live music venue – would be responsible for minimising noise.
Other residents of the 12-storey Flinders Street apartment complex have jumped to the bar’s defence, including one man who called the noise complaints ridiculous.
“I knew there would be noise – as should every buyer or renter who did any due diligence,” the resident said.
The government has also set aside $500,000 to help live music venues meet noise level obligations.
While the reforms would not apply to existing buildings, a Justice Department spokesman said part of the grant would go towards venues that “have not been captured” by the reforms.
As the Flinders Street apartment building was built before the new rules had taken effect, it was unclear whether Cherry bar would be able to access this financial assistance.
The Environment Protection Authority Victoria has also begun reviewing the existing noise legislation, which sets the acceptable music noise limits.
This article originally appeared on The Age website, first published on 21 October 2014.