A pop-up beer garden planned by an old mill this summer has been canceled. ShinDigger’s Secret Garden events, which were supposed to take place every weekend in July and August at Talbot Mill, will no longer take place.
It comes after the Manchester breweries secured a license for the events despite opposition from council staff who raised concerns about noise. Licensing officers also had health and safety concerns at the former textile factory on the outskirts of downtown Ellesmere Street, which is being converted into about 200 apartments by developer Capital and Centric.
Council members in the licensing panel gave the green light for events to continue, but warned that council officers would “look at you like a hawk”. The breweries that submitted the temporary notices of events were told that their speakers could be seized if there were noise complaints from local residents.
READ MORE: Battle for beer garden at old mill, as scaled-down summer plans could be canceled
Speaking at City Hall’s hearing on May 16, ShinDigger’s co-founder George Grant said there would be no DJs – only background music under his control – and promised to make sure players would act responsibly at all times. However, he has now confirmed that the events do not start.
He said: “It is my opinion that the city center should be a vibrant place that should host a number of exciting events. Our vision was to create a unique beer garden space that people can enjoy in high summer, and to make that focus should be 100% committed to producing a great place.
“We did not want to go further shrouded in uncertainty and under constant fear of being shut down. On a more positive note, we learned a lot from this whole process that enables us to future ideas.”
George explained that despite being initiated, the licensing team can still issue a noise reduction notice if it receives noise complaints. Should this happen, the company would either cancel the events, lose its ‘significant pre-investment’ or risk a lengthy legal saga continuing.
ShinDigger offered to set a decibel limit, but this was rejected by licensing officers, who can only operate on the basis of a subjective definition of ‘public nuisance’. Tim Heatley, co-founder of Capital and Centric, said: “We were well prepared for ShinDigger to leave for our historic Talbot Mill to host their secret garden.
“In addition to supporting a homemade brand, it would have served as a real attraction to get people back to enjoying city life for a limited number of summer parties. While ShinDigger was grateful for the support of local councilors, as a small business that is still in recovery due to the pandemic, they felt it was too great a risk to potentially lose pre-investment in space if the municipality just received one noise complaint and shut them down.They would have been set up to fail from the start.
“A real shame, but ShinDigger has epic beers, a loyal following and pioneering spirit. They will return, and we’re already looking at more opportunities to collaborate – keep an eye on this space.”