A restaurateur from Agen deprived of an outdoor concert takes a radical decision: “I’m selling my restaurant”

the essential
The town hall of Agen refused last week that an outdoor jazz concert take place under the Cornières until 11 p.m. Reactions are pouring in.

The announcement of the cancellation of a concert on the terrace of a restaurant in Les Cornières in Agen continues to make people react. On social networks, discussions are going well. Christian Heynen, owner of “C’est ici” the restaurant in question, received this refusal of authorization from the town hall as a real injustice, he who, installed for three years, considers “to do everything with total respect for regulations and paying attention to everything and everyone. »

Beyond this specific example, it is a way of life that is officially called into question. “I am sure that the town hall will reconsider this decision to ban outdoor musical entertainment for restaurants. It cannot be otherwise. It’s living together, you just have to find a compromise. I was ready to find one. I made the request for a time slot from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. It was categorically refused to me. But I am of course ready to adapt, to play from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. if necessary. »

After the successive waves of confinement, the obligations to wear masks, the restrictions, the closures… rediscovering activity, conviviality seems necessary. Banning outdoor concerts at the end of the week is experienced as an additional deprivation of freedoms, a brake on recovery itself.

To give up…

“The day after the refusal of the town hall, I reacted by posting on social networks my desire to sell my establishment” continues Christian Heynen. “I was in shock. It seemed to me that I had nothing more to do in Agen. I settled three years ago in what is for me the most beautiful street in the city of Agen. I received a warm welcome. I also thought I had found a strong backing from the town hall… at C’est ici, we’ve never had anything to be ashamed of. It would seem that a few troublemakers are enough to get everyone punished. »

The reactions on social networks were numerous after the post of the restaurateur. The Agenais, residents in the heart of the city or on the outskirts, occasional or regular visitors to the city, comment: “But what a pity, when it would possibly be enough to regulate the days and times! We need a bit of animation, music…” “Really saddening, these closures of shops that offered culture. Artists, who are our joy of living, must be able to practice their profession normally. Our world is gradually becoming a world of selfishness that cares little for culture, if it is not part of its elitist environment. “Especially to stop right at the start of summer, it’s very, very lame, it’s the first summer without restrictions in two years when we’re starting to regain the taste for going out to enjoy our singers and musicians, we feels suffocated again, an alternative would have been a good solution 7-9pm or 8-10pm was fine. “You’re not really going to sell anyway?” ! We must do something, organize a petition, a demonstration! Anyway, you have my full support. »

After a few days, Christian Heynen returned to more reasoned considerations. “I love my restaurant, I love this city – where my wife lives – I love my customers, I love my team, I can’t leave everything like that. Of course I stay. »

Noise in the city, how far is it acceptable?

To justify the ban addressed to the restaurant “C’est ici” for its outdoor musical entertainment, the town hall advances the noise pollution experienced by local residents, as we recently reported in these columns: “Faced with the excessive number of complaints for noise pollution in the Cornières district, we cannot issue a favorable opinion,” explained Jean Dugay, councilor in charge of the public domain and establishments.

For restaurant owner Christian Heynen, a jazz concert has nothing to do with the noise pollution that exists in the middle of the night. The noise in town is omnipresent during the day, the shops, the restaurants, the passers-by. And in the evening, some customers in restaurants or cafés don’t have the same notion of late hours… The hubbub until late at night, every evening, loud music from cell phones, by exasperates local residents who, without it, would more easily support a concert one evening. The city center of Agen is not always calm and peaceful in

heart of night. Several residents of rue des Cornières have precisely complained about night rodeos, for example. On hot days, sleeping with the windows open is beneficial. But being woken up in the middle of the night by engines, screams or music is not.

While local residents assert their right to peace and quiet, others also believe that a weekend concert in the streets contributes to the dynamics of the city and the freedom to have fun. As with everything, the art of finding the right balance is subtle.

The Music Festival will take place outdoors. The neighbours’ party also took place and the residents of Cornières had gathered in place of the cathedral, with musical entertainment. Because musical entertainment is possible until 11 p.m., provided that the town hall gives permission (see elsewhere).

Case by case

The regulations for occupying the public domain in Agen date from September 22, 2016. They concern advertisements, construction sites, garage sales, etc. Regarding musical entertainment or concerts outdoors, on the terraces of cafés-restaurants, “the authorization granted may not exceed 23 hours. “Which stuck to the request of Christian Heynen. The regulations specify that “any broadcast of amplified music (by speakers) is prohibited. This measure is difficult to apply today.

Like all regulations, this one is subject to interpretation. For example: “All precautions must be taken so that the sound volume of events, concerts or shows does not affect public peace. “And” the authorization will also be conditioned by the requirements related to the imperatives of public tranquility. »

This is most certainly what motivated the town hall’s decision to finally ban the holding of the concert in front of “C’est ici” as Jean Dugay explains, following complaints from local residents.
Authorizations are therefore taken on a case-by-case basis.

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