Calls have been made to protect much loved clubs and pubs in Birmingham’s gay village from noise complaints from potential new residents.
Oasis Developments is looking to demolish buildings on land bordered by Gooch Street North, Kent Street and Lower Essex Street and build 456 one and two bedroom flats.
But the development would be near a number of clubs, with Nightingale and The Fox pub being closest.
Councillor Gareth Moore objected to the plans and said sufficient noise mitigation work needed to be carried out to protect the venues from complaints and the suggestion people could “close their windows” at noisy times wouldn’t work.
He also said the developers’ proposed Section 106 contribution of £1.5 million should be used to fund street lighting and CCTV in the wake of recent attacks on members of the LGBT community.
Operators of the Nightingale club said the council had facilitated ‘agent of change’ discussions between them and the developers of a separate proposed development in Kent Street to ensure noise mitigation measures would be in place.
They added that they expected the council to honour this commitment for this development or face a possible legal challenge.
Regulatory services officers also objected to the proposal saying the noise issue needed to be resolved between Nightingale, The Fox and the developers.
What have councillors said about the development plans in their own words?
Councillor Moore said: “Whilst an agent of change principle is in place for the development at 16 Kent Street to help provide better noise mitigation for the Nightingale, the recommendation does not sufficiently address the possibility that this development may be completed prior to 16 Kent Street.
“And that would leave the Nightingale at severe risk of complaints from future occupiers about noise nuisance.
“The report suggests mitigation at the Fox is not needed and future occupiers can close their windows at noisy times.
“This has been shown time and again to not to be an effective form of mitigation with a number of LGBT venues including the Loft, Missing and Sidewalk being subject to noise complaints from residents who are not willing to close their windows.
“Providing residential accommodation next to a late night entertainment will generate complaints and should be avoided. If there is not a suitable form of mitigation then the application should be refused.
“There is no onus on the developer to ensure the future occupiers are aware they will be living next to a late night venue.”
On the Section 106 money he added: “Given the recent homophobic violence this money could be put to better use by enabling better street lighting and CCTV which has been asked for by members of the LGBT community.
“I would ask the section 106 be amended so this provision would be better used to protect a community under attack”
What is being done to protect the Nightingale and The Fox?
Officers said the developers had agreed to undertake soundproofing works to the Nightingale and this would be secured before the development.
They added mitigation work is also proposed for The Fox while future occupiers will be advised of the late night premises in the area.
In their report, officers said: “The scheme would make an efficient use of this brownfield site and contribute to the City’s need for residential accommodation.
“An agent of change has been agreed to secure mitigation works to the Nightingale whilst it is considered that mitigation offered by the proposed building would be adequate to mitigate against the Fox public house.
“There is also some harm to the significance of the Fox as a heritage asset due to the scale of the proposed development within its setting, however as the Fox is an undesignated heritage asset the scale of harm is considered to be low with this harm outweighed by the public benefits of the scheme.
“These comprise the provision of housing, the economic benefits during and after construction and social benefits of creating a place with good connectivity.”
But, at a meeting on Thursday (December 9) planning committee members voted to defer the decision to allow for more discussions on noise mitigation between the venues and developers.
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