Tap and Spile: Calls to reject application to lift restrictions around outside space

Birmingham City Council licensing Committee to decide on application to lift restrictions on the use of the outside area at the Tap and Spile pub on Gas Street, near Broad Street

Tap and Spile on Gas Street in Birmingham city centre

Operators of the renowned real ale and late night venue the Tap and Spile - near Broad Street in the city centre - have applied for restrictions to be lifted on the use of outside space next to the premises.

Stonegate, which also runs the Brass House, Walkabout, Reflex, Slug & Lettuce and Pop World went before a licensing committee on Wednesday, October 6. They want their customers to access the space until 4am.

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But Birmingham city centre residents are objecting to the application say they are ‘under siege’ from noise and nuisance from local bars and restaurants in the area.

And several members of the ‘floating community’ based on the canals around Brindleyplace have written to the council asking them to reject a new application.

What are the current restrictions at the Tap & Spile

The conditions, which were placed on the premises under a previous owner, state:

No music played or performed inside the premises is to be audible outside the premises

No consumption of alcohol in any external area including the towpath immediately adjacent to the premises,

The licence holder shall erect prominent, clear and legible signage inside and outside the premises instructing patrons that drinking in external areas is not permitted.

Tap and Spile pub on Gas Street in Birmingham City Centre

What have the residents said?

Writing to the council, one resident asked not just for the application to be refused, but for the opening hours of the pub to be rolled back too, stating: “As a council taxpayer and far more importantly as a grandmother, I take this opportunity to ask the committee not only to reject this application but to take this opportunity to reduce the opening hours of the Tap and Spile public house.

“Acceptance of the application would result in the possibility of the canal basin being filled with noise beyond 4am. I can see no other reason why the company would wish to have the noise limitations removed but to increase the noise levels outside their premises.

“The resultant noise pollution and public nuisance would mean that my young grandsons and the children of other families could no longer stay overnight on the house narrowboats, something they adore. The disturbance and disorder would be too frightening for them to remain overnight.”

No residents were able to attend the meeting of the council’s licensing committee, meaning only written representations were available to councillors.

Birmingham city centre

What did Tap & Spile operators Stonegate say?

A representative for Stonegate did speak at the meeting, saying: “We operate numerous venues in the immediate vicinity on Broad Street and Brindley Place – Brass House, Walkabout, Reflex, Slug & Lettuce, and Pop World.

“Stonegate would not want one rotten apple to sully the barrel and they have a good working relationship with the authorities in respect of those other premises and they wouldn’t risk running one premises badly which might have an adverse impact on the view of the authorities in respect of those many other premises which they operate.

“We would be happy to say that no regulated entertainment will take place in the outside area that we’re discussing which is adjacent to the main entrance.

“We don’t want music noise to be an issue. No use of the outside area after 11pm, that’s consistent with our operational document, despite the fact that we trade considerably later and others trade later than that in the locality, we’re quite happy to limit it to 11pm.

“We’re happy to have a capacity on the outside area of 50 people, that’s slightly in excess of 42 seats but simply allows for room for people who are loitering, waiting for a table.

“And the condition we applied to remove which said there was to be no music played or performed inside the premises to be audible outside the premises – we would simply ask the committee to amend that so that it says it wouldn’t be audible at the nearest residential locations.”

A decision is expected within five working days.