Page last updated at 10:05 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 11:05 UK

Butcher battles 'no chop' order

Butcher Brian Clapton
Brian Clapton says sound-proofing his shop would cost thousands of pounds

A traditional east London butcher is battling his local council in the courts after he was ordered to stop chopping and singing in the mornings.

Brian Clapton, 51, was told by an enforcement officer from Barking and Dagenham council that they were responding to a noise complaint.

An upstairs tenant, who has since moved out, said the cheery butcher's early morning work was disruptive.

Mr Clapton says new sound-proofing is the council's responsibility.

The owner of Brian's Meat Store, which has been in business for more than 13 years, is fighting four charges of breaching noise abatement orders since he was first visited by council officers in November 2007.

If they want me to not be happy and not sing, I refuse to do that. If they want me to stop chopping, I refuse to do that.
Butcher Brian Clapton

The issue reached Barking Magistrates' Court after Mr Clapton refused to cease chopping and singing between 0600 BST and 0800 BST each weekday morning and before 0900 BST on weekends.

"If they want me to not be happy and not sing, I refuse to do that," he said.

"If they want me to stop chopping, I refuse to do that."

Mr Clapton said since the council owned the building, it was their responsibility to ensure it was "fit for the purpose, ie a butcher's".

Council officers advised Mr Clapton to insulate his ceiling and use sound-absorbing pads to help contain the noise.

However, Mr Clapton has said the work would be too expensive and that it is the council's responsibility.

His court case has been adjourned until November.

Barking and Dagenham council was not immediately available to comment on the case.


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