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Family wins 16-year fight against noisy bar

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Family wins 16-year fight against noisy bar
The unlicensed club regularly showed football matches on its premises. File photo: AFP
10:45 CEST+02:00
In a case of the wheels of justice barely turning at all, a family in Spain's Valencia region have finally won their battle to have an unlicensed social club in their building shut down.

The frustrated family from Meliana waited the best part of two decades to see the dispute with their noisy neighbours resolved, El País reports.

Their problems first started in 1998 when they moved into a building into the small town. That very year, one of the clubs involved in the organization of Valencia's world-famous Las Fallas festival moved into the building.

At first the family of four assumed the noise the club produced would only coincide with the week-long festival. When they realised, however, that the festivities would continue three or four nights a week throughout the year — featuring everything from dance classes to loud music and bingo games —they lodged a formal complaint with police in 1999.

Eight years of toing and froing later, the town mayor finally ordered a technical inspection of the club in 2007.

The upshot of the resulting report was clear: the club's premises were clearly inadequate.

But the town hall failed to act on the report, despite the family sending a dozen written requests for the club to be closed.

Frustrated by the council's lack of action, the family took the matter to Valencia's lower courts who rejected their claim.

Now, however, Valencia's Supreme Court has found in their favour, ordering the club to be shut down.

The activities of the club were a "serious nuisance" and had "affected the tranquillity" of the family home the court said in its ruling.

The court was particularly scathing towards authorities in Meliana, who had failed to act despite being "fully aware of the facts".

Each member of the affected family will now be paid compensation of €7,500 — a total of €30,000.

Noise is a contentious issue in Spain, with the country holding the dubious honour of being the second loudest in the world, according to 2010 figures from the World Health Organization.

Spanish politicians periodically make attempts to tackle the problem. In July, a town in Valencia made the siesta compulsory, imposing a three-hour quiet period from 2pm to 5pm.

In 2014, the southern Seville said it would crack down on noise by introducing fines for everything from outdoor bingo games to unnecessary revving of car engines. 

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