The Barrytown Hall - a popular venue for New Zealand music for at least 40 years - has been shut down after a noise complaint from a neighbour.
The rural village hall on the South Island's West Coast is well known on the New Zealand and international music circuit as an alternative live music venue.
Hall committee chairman Roger Ewer said because of one complaint the committee was now having to jump through hoops to resume staging live performances.
It has already cancelled gigs through until at least August, including the latest Arts on Tour offerings, which incurred a $1000 financial penalty for cancellation.
"It's ridiculous. One person can do this. We've got one person able to complain to stuff things up," Ewer said today.
"It is very frustrating when I've been involved in these types of things since 1972 and there's never been a problem."
When the hall began to host live music the surrounding environment was totally rural.
He said the noise complainant was a relatively recent arrival in Barrytown, living in one of the former railway houses that were shifted from Otira to a site opposite the hall about 18 years ago.
"This emerged about two months ago and we thought we would avoid it with existing use but we can't and have had to apply for resource consent, which is expensive and is taking time," Ewer said.
That included the hall having to commission an expert noise report.
They had previously installed shutters and done other work to help mitigate the noise.
The hall was now at the mercy of a resource consent process.
Ewer said the Barrytown plight had reverberated around the New Zealand music community.
"People are staggered, flabbergasted. Our supporters, we've had letters and phone calls from all over New Zealand, amazed at how we can be shut down."
The hall committee had considered a legal challenge but decided instead to work with the council.
"They seem to be quite responsive about helping us through it. We've gone along with their requests rather than fighting it legally, which we could have done."
They had been working on the basis of "existing use rights".
"It's interesting. It's turned out that they can impose a residential noise limit on us after 9 o'clock at night, which is ridiculously low."
Ewer said the hall had now applied to adjust the decibel level in its consent.
Two affected residents opposite the hall had assented to the hall's application.
Another two households had declined and the hall also had to get sign off from absentee property owners.
"It's really stuffed things up and is losing us a lot of money."
Grey District Council environmental compliance manager Ben Healey said the council had fielded a complaint and noise level monitoring undertaken since had indicated that the hall was compliant.
However, the number of functions at Barrytown had increased.
"Basically, the frequency has increased. Noise levels have amplified, which has led to that neighbour complaint."