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Old July 19th, 2007, 11:10 AM   #21
morestoreysplease
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Firstly, there's no reason why the Fiddle & Bone building can't be opened up as a cafe and eaterie and maybe invite traders to set up a market on Sundays in the courtyard (like Holliday Wharf used to be).
Secondly, Hi Remfan - my friend's booked the Spotted Dog for Sunday as his baby's Christening after-party. Looking forward to it!
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Old July 19th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by brum2003 View Post

in the meantime the Spotted dog has had a noise abatement order served by residents from Abacus and is now stirring things up regards the future of all Irish pubs in the area. It seems he may have been unreasonable with levels of music late at night, also his pub has no double glazing which would have also helped the situation

the crux seems that the owner of the spotted dog feels its his right to play loud music 24/7 because he was first and is stirring up the 'local' community(non of whom live in digbeth anyway) to fight residential development
Complete bollocks!
A. 2am Licence Friday and Saturday, 12.30 Sunday. For music. Includes the garden. 67 events in garden since Jan 2005 About one every 2 weeks. 31 of these were bloody noisy. About one every 4 weeks.
B. Does this pillock expect me to double glaze 80 year old leaded windows, bowed with age. Would have been much better to have double glazed the windows of the soulless ugly recent creation opposite (would hardly have detracted from its "character" but would have eaten into the developer's profits!).
C. The Spotted Dog was were the concept of the Irish Quarter was first mooted about 15 years ago and has been an integral part of the Digbeth community for generations
D. Majority of Abacus residents support The Spotted Dog and can't understand the attitude of the 3 complainants (out of 178 apartments)

Read on if you are interested in what was amusingly described in "Showhouse" magazine (Page 25 June 2005) as "an unusually high level of co-operation from the city's planners".

I have owned the Spotted Dog for over 22 years and the premises, until recently, have never been the subject of complaints of any nature.
The Spotted Dog is a well-run establishment catering for the needs of local residents and visitors to the area. It is an integral part of a vibrant entertainment community and has been the venue of choice for countless functions in the last twenty years. These range from traditional Irish music to live bands in both the pub and in the garden, and have included many weddings, funerals, end of term school staff functions, charity functions and St Patrick’s week festivities. Many of these have been hosted in the garden, which is acknowledged as one of the best venues for live music in the city.
The Spotted Dog fulfils an important social role in the area as a focal centre for residents to meet and is an important part of the traditional character of the area.
The flurry of recent complaints has taken me by surprise and, because of events that have been booked here for up to a year, it has been difficult to respond to the satisfaction of the few complainants who seem to be determined that the pub and garden should not be used as it has been in the past, if at all.
Birmingham City Council Planning Department, in a letter written to me by Mr Clive Dutton, Director of Planning and Regeneration, has admitted that the Abacus development was allowed to be constructed in direct contravention of its own planning “Guidelines” in order to provide a “catalyst for further development in the vicinity”. My rights under the Guidelines, both residential and commercial, were considered (and minuted in a Planning Office report) but dismissed as being inconsequential when compared with the requirements of the developer’s right to ensure that the project was financially viable. The result is that the Abacus apartments are between 12 and 14 metres from my residence, commercial premises and garden instead of the Numerical Standards recommendation of 30 metres. This reduction (60%) is unprecedented in planning, in Birmingham and throughout the country, as far as I can ascertain, particularly with respect to residential accommodation.
Mr Dutton assures me that “the issue of noise was addressed through processing of the application and a noise report was submitted on existing noise levels in the area”. This placed Warwick Street in Noise Exposure Category (NEC) B (hardly appropriate for a development 12 metres from a Public House with a 2.00am Public Entertainment Licence). He also states, “acoustic insulation measures have been installed in the apartments in order to protect against adverse noise effects”.
The noise report referred to is proving difficult to track down and may require my visiting the Planning Office again to check the file, although I do not recall seeing such a document in my three previous perusals of the Abacus file.
The Environment Protection Unit, who are responsible for NEC technical information, have no report for this development on their files. They suggested that the developers may have submitted their own report with the application. Cosy! Or what?
Of one thing I am certain - that I was never asked what were the terms of my licence. No interest seems to have been taken in the fact that The Spotted Dog was licensed for music until 2.00 am on Saturday and Sunday and 12.30 am Monday, which is surprising in view of the fact that we have been conducting live music events here for years.
However, this apparent dereliction of duty is more than adequately explained in Mr Dutton’s letter. After informing me of the procedures of the Environmental Health Department (EHD) he states that he “is mindful of [my] concerns, however, the City Council cannot legally provide any exceptions to this legal requirement and if complaints are received, they will need to be investigated, and any noise nuisance mitigated against”.
Thus it would seem to be clear that no consideration was made for the potential environmental noise associated with The Spotted Dog. Inadequate sound insulation was recommended, at further financial benefit to the developer, and Mr Dutton and the developers could sleep soundly knowing that EHD would be on hand to counteract their dereliction. The fact that it results in the closure of The Spotted Dog, one of the reasons that people move into the area and an integral part of the widely-touted Irish Quarter as well as being the venue for the initial discussions that resulted in the concept of the Irish Quarter, will prove to be irrelevant once the developer has maximised his profits.
I do not know what acoustic insulation measures were recommended or whether they were implemented by the developer. If they were correct specifications, they were not carried out by the developer. If the specifications were incorrect then fault lies with the Planning Department who have put my business, which has only ever survived because of the various functions held here, in jeopardy.
Being unacquainted with such complaints, I was bemused by being informed that “noise nuisance” is an entirely subjective concept and that I was not entitled to objective readings of sound levels supporting the complainants point of view. Also, the fact that Environmental Health Officers (EHO) do not have to use monitoring equipment on their visits seemed strange considering the sophisticated equipment available. Having read up on the subject, I now see that this is, however bizarre, correct. They don’t use sound monitoring equipment because they don’t have to. I’ve not even been able to have copies of the EHO reports of the alleged nuisance.
I now realise that my situation is critical and that any form of congregation, particularly in the garden, is likely to result in a complaint.
It is quite plain that EHD is not concerned with my point of view, or that of many (indeed, of the vast majority) of residents in the area and that the complainants’ concerns are their only consideration. I understand that this is their statutory duty..
I had assumed that some compromise could be reached with the complainants, and am disappointed to have been unable to arrange a meeting with them. I’d assumed that I would be able to fulfil my commitments to future bookings both inside the pub and in the garden but if the group of complainants have their way, as seems likely, nothing will be allowed here in the form of one-off events.
I have yet to meet an Abacus resident who finds the activities here disturbing and I have spoken to probably 30 residents. All have said that The Spotted Dog and other live music venues in the area are the main reasons why they chose to move here. They are as concerned as I am about the threat to the way the pub is run and each has offered to supply written support. It seems, however, that EHD is not allowed to take this into consideration.
There are serious concerns amongst residents that the situation relating to The Spotted Dog will lead to closure of all other music venues in the area, removing the character that has developed over the last 20 years and thereby remove the reason why many people chose to live in the area. People travel from all over Europe to attend events at the larger venues around here.
I suggested, at the recent Digbeth Residents Meeting and the local Pubwatch Meeting, that Residents and Licensees meet to discuss a possible solution to the hosting of one-off events. Incidentally, I was informed that not one of the persons attending the Residents’ Meeting had any issues with The Spotted Dog and there was considerable support for the activities here.
The real issue is that if one-off, occasional, noisy, events are not allowed in this area, the area will change forever.
The sequence of events will be:
-Spotted Dog is prevented from being viable because of a minority of people.
-Having set the precedent, the minority pick-off The Rainbow and Adam and Eve.
-The Medicine Bar,
-The Sanctuary,
-Air, will all be targeted quite easily. None of these places will survive if, occasionally, accepted noise levels are not allowed to be exceeded.
-The area will be left desolate, with none of its former vibrant, flakey character. It will comprise thousands of residents living in mean, lifeless streets who will be wondering “Whatever happened to that terrific, lively, Irish Quarter that Concept Development Solutions and The Council promised us, with the leafy boulevards and exciting squares?”
-Two years down the line, somebody will say “That was a mistake, bring it all back”.
-But it won’t come back, and neither will the tens of thousands of visitors from Europe who travelled to Digbeth to hear the loud music! They’ll book their tickets straight through to Manchester.

All because of a developer “rolling-over” the Council Planning Department!
How sad!
A lady at the Digbeth Residents’ Meeting passed me a hand-written note asking whether I had considered that the site of The Spotted Dog might be a prime target for developers and suggesting that that may be the reason for the problems experienced. Perish the thought! Everybody knows that the developers are only interested in benefiting the community!
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Old July 19th, 2007, 06:26 PM   #23
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Hi Noddy

I take it you own the place?

Thanks for shedding a clearer light on it, and the bad conduct by the council.

You should be able to request the reports that have gone missing under the Freedom of Information Act.

From what I know of Clive Dutton, he is a fair guy and interested in doing the best for Brum, so it doesn't sound right on his attitude.

Keep up the work in the local press, and challenge the developer to prove they adopted their soundproofing measures.

From what (little) I know of noise measures, there are legal limits to how loud noise can get at set distances and time. If you can prove that you are not exceeding limits then you are in a stronger position. Unfortunately this all costs money. Typical remediation is closing windows during events but can be more depending on the building.

Ultimately, the problem is a council one because they have licenced the pub and it is in a resi area, but of course there is a livelihood at stake. If you can get official letters of support to the council they can consider things.

It is difficult when pubs/bars/clubs and resi are in close proximity, and I guess the answer lies in both sides making an effort.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 06:53 PM   #24
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!!!!

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Old July 19th, 2007, 07:07 PM   #25
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further to the above

!!!!

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Old July 19th, 2007, 07:23 PM   #26
brum2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noddy View Post
Complete bollocks!
A. 2am Licence Friday and Saturday, 12.30 Sunday. For music. Includes the garden. 67 events in garden since Jan 2005 About one every 2 weeks. 31 of these were bloody noisy. About one every 4 weeks.
B. Does this pillock expect me to double glaze 80 year old leaded windows, bowed with age. Would have been much better to have double glazed the windows of the soulless ugly recent creation opposite (would hardly have detracted from its "character" but would have eaten into the developer's profits!).
C. The Spotted Dog was were the concept of the Irish Quarter was first mooted about 15 years ago and has been an integral part of the Digbeth community for generations
D. Majority of Abacus residents support The Spotted Dog and can't understand the attitude of the 3 complainants (out of 178 apartments)

Read on if you are interested in what was amusingly described in "Showhouse" magazine (Page 25 June 2005) as "an unusually high level of co-operation from the city's planners".

I have owned the Spotted Dog for over 22 years and the premises, until recently, have never been the subject of complaints of any nature.
The Spotted Dog is a well-run establishment catering for the needs of local residents and visitors to the area. It is an integral part of a vibrant entertainment community and has been the venue of choice for countless functions in the last twenty years. These range from traditional Irish music to live bands in both the pub and in the garden, and have included many weddings, funerals, end of term school staff functions, charity functions and St Patrick’s week festivities. Many of these have been hosted in the garden, which is acknowledged as one of the best venues for live music in the city.
The Spotted Dog fulfils an important social role in the area as a focal centre for residents to meet and is an important part of the traditional character of the area.
The flurry of recent complaints has taken me by surprise and, because of events that have been booked here for up to a year, it has been difficult to respond to the satisfaction of the few complainants who seem to be determined that the pub and garden should not be used as it has been in the past, if at all.
Birmingham City Council Planning Department, in a letter written to me by Mr Clive Dutton, Director of Planning and Regeneration, has admitted that the Abacus development was allowed to be constructed in direct contravention of its own planning “Guidelines” in order to provide a “catalyst for further development in the vicinity”. My rights under the Guidelines, both residential and commercial, were considered (and minuted in a Planning Office report) but dismissed as being inconsequential when compared with the requirements of the developer’s right to ensure that the project was financially viable. The result is that the Abacus apartments are between 12 and 14 metres from my residence, commercial premises and garden instead of the Numerical Standards recommendation of 30 metres. This reduction (60%) is unprecedented in planning, in Birmingham and throughout the country, as far as I can ascertain, particularly with respect to residential accommodation.
Mr Dutton assures me that “the issue of noise was addressed through processing of the application and a noise report was submitted on existing noise levels in the area”. This placed Warwick Street in Noise Exposure Category (NEC) B (hardly appropriate for a development 12 metres from a Public House with a 2.00am Public Entertainment Licence). He also states, “acoustic insulation measures have been installed in the apartments in order to protect against adverse noise effects”.
The noise report referred to is proving difficult to track down and may require my visiting the Planning Office again to check the file, although I do not recall seeing such a document in my three previous perusals of the Abacus file.
The Environment Protection Unit, who are responsible for NEC technical information, have no report for this development on their files. They suggested that the developers may have submitted their own report with the application. Cosy! Or what?
Of one thing I am certain - that I was never asked what were the terms of my licence. No interest seems to have been taken in the fact that The Spotted Dog was licensed for music until 2.00 am on Saturday and Sunday and 12.30 am Monday, which is surprising in view of the fact that we have been conducting live music events here for years.
However, this apparent dereliction of duty is more than adequately explained in Mr Dutton’s letter. After informing me of the procedures of the Environmental Health Department (EHD) he states that he “is mindful of [my] concerns, however, the City Council cannot legally provide any exceptions to this legal requirement and if complaints are received, they will need to be investigated, and any noise nuisance mitigated against”.
Thus it would seem to be clear that no consideration was made for the potential environmental noise associated with The Spotted Dog. Inadequate sound insulation was recommended, at further financial benefit to the developer, and Mr Dutton and the developers could sleep soundly knowing that EHD would be on hand to counteract their dereliction. The fact that it results in the closure of The Spotted Dog, one of the reasons that people move into the area and an integral part of the widely-touted Irish Quarter as well as being the venue for the initial discussions that resulted in the concept of the Irish Quarter, will prove to be irrelevant once the developer has maximised his profits.
I do not know what acoustic insulation measures were recommended or whether they were implemented by the developer. If they were correct specifications, they were not carried out by the developer. If the specifications were incorrect then fault lies with the Planning Department who have put my business, which has only ever survived because of the various functions held here, in jeopardy.
Being unacquainted with such complaints, I was bemused by being informed that “noise nuisance” is an entirely subjective concept and that I was not entitled to objective readings of sound levels supporting the complainants point of view. Also, the fact that Environmental Health Officers (EHO) do not have to use monitoring equipment on their visits seemed strange considering the sophisticated equipment available. Having read up on the subject, I now see that this is, however bizarre, correct. They don’t use sound monitoring equipment because they don’t have to. I’ve not even been able to have copies of the EHO reports of the alleged nuisance.
I now realise that my situation is critical and that any form of congregation, particularly in the garden, is likely to result in a complaint.
It is quite plain that EHD is not concerned with my point of view, or that of many (indeed, of the vast majority) of residents in the area and that the complainants’ concerns are their only consideration. I understand that this is their statutory duty..
I had assumed that some compromise could be reached with the complainants, and am disappointed to have been unable to arrange a meeting with them. I’d assumed that I would be able to fulfil my commitments to future bookings both inside the pub and in the garden but if the group of complainants have their way, as seems likely, nothing will be allowed here in the form of one-off events.
I have yet to meet an Abacus resident who finds the activities here disturbing and I have spoken to probably 30 residents. All have said that The Spotted Dog and other live music venues in the area are the main reasons why they chose to move here. They are as concerned as I am about the threat to the way the pub is run and each has offered to supply written support. It seems, however, that EHD is not allowed to take this into consideration.
There are serious concerns amongst residents that the situation relating to The Spotted Dog will lead to closure of all other music venues in the area, removing the character that has developed over the last 20 years and thereby remove the reason why many people chose to live in the area. People travel from all over Europe to attend events at the larger venues around here.
I suggested, at the recent Digbeth Residents Meeting and the local Pubwatch Meeting, that Residents and Licensees meet to discuss a possible solution to the hosting of one-off events. Incidentally, I was informed that not one of the persons attending the Residents’ Meeting had any issues with The Spotted Dog and there was considerable support for the activities here.
The real issue is that if one-off, occasional, noisy, events are not allowed in this area, the area will change forever.
The sequence of events will be:
-Spotted Dog is prevented from being viable because of a minority of people.
-Having set the precedent, the minority pick-off The Rainbow and Adam and Eve.
-The Medicine Bar,
-The Sanctuary,
-Air, will all be targeted quite easily. None of these places will survive if, occasionally, accepted noise levels are not allowed to be exceeded.
-The area will be left desolate, with none of its former vibrant, flakey character. It will comprise thousands of residents living in mean, lifeless streets who will be wondering “Whatever happened to that terrific, lively, Irish Quarter that Concept Development Solutions and The Council promised us, with the leafy boulevards and exciting squares?”
-Two years down the line, somebody will say “That was a mistake, bring it all back”.
-But it won’t come back, and neither will the tens of thousands of visitors from Europe who travelled to Digbeth to hear the loud music! They’ll book their tickets straight through to Manchester.

All because of a developer “rolling-over” the Council Planning Department!
How sad!
A lady at the Digbeth Residents’ Meeting passed me a hand-written note asking whether I had considered that the site of The Spotted Dog might be a prime target for developers and suggesting that that may be the reason for the problems experienced. Perish the thought! Everybody knows that the developers are only interested in benefiting the community!
NO need to call me a pillock !

The same thing did happen at the fiddle and bone and it was one or two solicitors that caused all the problems, but also an unwillingnes son the side of the pub to change its business model to reflect the new neighbours (ie outside performances) I lived opposite and never complained but was bothered by the noise occasionally, my friends now live between yourselves and the adam and eve, which has great music jams, they have complained about the noise, but I know they would never complain officially !! as they value the contribution the bars make to the district. Obiously eveyone is not as acommodating as them.

I only suggested that you, the other bars and the residents, not just of abacus but the other residential developments start communicating in a constructive and meaningful way. This is happening in other parts of the city centre, to the benefit of all. Two years ago bars in the gay village were having noise abatement orders regularly served by the new residents of southside. They have now combined forces and have successfuly lobbied for improvements to security and regeneration of the area, and actively recruit new residents to their group, a model that would no doubt aid you and be beneficial for the future ! The gay village is still a noisy place at night, but the residents and the businesses now have a greater understanding and respect for each other through this cooperation

surely there must be a way round it where all parties are satisfied, including and prob most importantly yourself as an exisiting business !

I just hope your campaign is succesful in that a way is found to keep your business and others alive but that it does not have the effect of stifling development in the area as it is a disgrace visually and a very poor reflection on the city to visitors.

Maybe sue as a group of traders, the developers and the council for insulation to the pub/pubs in the area to neutralise future complaints ?

Last edited by brum2003; July 19th, 2007 at 07:38 PM.
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Old July 19th, 2007, 07:25 PM   #27
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So what do you suggest? You moan on and on people have been unfair to you, yet offer no alternative proposals for ways to go forward. So what do you propose? That Digbeth developments should cease and the area should stay the shithole it was?
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Old July 19th, 2007, 11:28 PM   #28
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So what do you suggest? You moan on and on people have been unfair to you, yet offer no alternative proposals for ways to go forward. So what do you propose? That Digbeth developments should cease and the area should stay the shithole it was?
The Rainbow, Medicine Bar, Adam and Eve and Hennessey's are all beside proposed residential developments. All have at least 4am licences. All play loud music. The planners must not be conned by the developers. They must insist on "good design" to insulate the new residents from the existing businesses as is their duty. Every "Guideline" you'll ever see states that this is the objective in such areas.
The planning file for the Abacus development is a riot to read. The developer successfully argued the poormouth and, using totally ludicrous proposed prices for the apartments, convinced the planners that if the development wasn't allowed to be maximised to the extent that it contravened the Strategic Development Plan for the area and compromised my residential and commercial amenity it would not be financially viable. They managed to get away with zero affordable housing and £100,000 Section 106 commitment. This in a development of 178 apartments plus commercial. Then, bugger me, don't they just flog the lot on to someone else!
Guess what! The apartments were sold for up to double the prices quoted in the "poormouth" document. Did the planners' make allowances for this and claw back some of the "unprecedented" concessions made. No way. The Head of Planning and Regeneration claims that the affordable housing element will be made up in further developments in the area. So the next developer who proposes 178 apartments is going to allocate 50% of his properties for affordable housing??? My arse, he is!
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Old July 20th, 2007, 10:34 AM   #29
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In all fairness, the council had to look at Abacus slightly differently to the other schemes. Abacus is the kick-start for the regen of the bottom end of Digbeth and to be perfectly frank is next to a shitty council estate, a shitty industrial estate, some fine-looking but run-down and unloved insutrial Victoriana, a dark and dangerous area at night, and near the ring road. The people who have bought there will see a good return in the long run but until the linking schemes are built, it will be out on a limb.

The council need Digbeth to be carefully developed and as Abacus is one of the earlier ones, and out on a limb, they can make concessions regarding s106 payments etc.

If your pub is not exceeding legal limits then it is easier to contest. You might be able to get access to all the planning documents on Planning Online on the council website. I would have thought that there would be a noise report on there, together with any mitigating factors. It could be that the complainants end up bringing their case against the developer/builder for not designing/building their block in accordance with recommendations.

This of course does not affect people leaving the pub noisy, but that is down to the landlord and his clientele I am afraid.

Good luck!
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Old July 20th, 2007, 12:04 PM   #30
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Had a quick look at the noise report before I got bored, it states the only places the noise people looked at were some factory and the Irish Centre - and on the two days they visited the Irish Centre had no events on. So I agree with Bio, think there is a case against the developers for having not taken full mitigation action.

Though should anyone else with a longer attention span want to check it out, the application reference is C/07812/05/FUL
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Old July 24th, 2007, 12:29 AM   #31
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As a well discussed Abacus resident I would like to contribute to this forum. I decided to purchase here because I wanted to live near the centre of the city. I chose Digbeth because I love the pubs, the music and the ‘run-down and unloved industrial Victoriana’. I have to say I don’t view it is as dark and dangerous area at night and actually it’s quite handy living near the ring road. Clearly Digbeth requires regenerating but surely not at the cost of businesses closing and the destruction of the very foundation that comprises Digbeth i.e. its pubs and night life. It’s one of the few places small bands can play and in turn be promoted.
I love the Spotted Dog and loved it prior to purchasing here. For those that object to the noise that is occasionally generated why on earth even consider moving in to a development that is situated next to a pub in the first place.
I for one do not want to see a regeneration of an area that destroys its soul, where I am surrounded by cafes and bars that are owned by faceless chains, where I could be living in any city in any part of the country. It seems a tiny minority of people have complained and have in turn been listened to but what about the rest of us? Don’t our voices count? I purchased here because of what was already here not because of some sterile vision I had in mind.
For those that want to support the Spotted Dog and the survival of Digbeth as a whole please sign the petition on www.keepdigbethvibrant.co.uk
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Old July 24th, 2007, 10:02 AM   #32
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Gladly, and welcome Abacus

I would guess that if more Abacus residents deluge the council with compliments about the Dog, then that will drown out the complaints. Has there been a leafleting campaign in your building to do that?
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Old July 24th, 2007, 01:19 PM   #33
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Leaflets have been produced and will be posted today. I am fairly sure the majority of residents at Abacus are oblivious to current events and will be as equally as concerned.
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Old July 24th, 2007, 08:49 PM   #34
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Abacus,

Good to hear and welcome.
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Old July 26th, 2007, 03:01 PM   #35
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Sorry for another long post, but, in case the citizens of Birmingham are worried that the City Fathers are not protecting their interests whilst they sleep, I hope the following will assure them that they can sleep soundly in their beds (unless they’re opposite here of course!).
The later part is an e-mail sent to Environmental Health Department (EHD) concerning the Noise Abatement Order issued against The Spotted Dog with the replies interposed.

The important points are:
1-6 show that EHD are not prepared to allow me my rights under the temporary suspension of the Notice until the appeal is arbitrated by a Magistrate. They will use new (and untested) legislation to attempt to revise the conditions of my licence.
10-19 EHD do not use any sound monitoring equipment because, under this Act, they are not required to do so. This means that, although my garden is licensed for music, I’m not told how loud it can be.
26-28 I’m not allowed to see the text of the EHD reports documenting my alleged transgressions because of the DATA PROTECTION ACT??? Who are they ******* kidding? So I’m allowed to know neither quantity nor quality data. Whose data are they protecting?
14-17 and 25 are outrageous. EHD are short of personnel for dates, with ample advance notice, on which I’ve informed them that there will be music that could be monitored. However on three occasions they have sent two EHD Officers to the same address without any notice. What pull does this guy have? With his influence it would take only one of his phone calls and maybe the Council would clean the shit of the streets around here. Maybe do something about the riff raff who seem to have begun to frequent the area, and, while he’s at it, a bit of graffiti cleaning wouldn’t go amiss (must remember to confiscate Martin Mullaniac’s spray can when he next visits). But I suppose the Council have more important things to occupy themselves, like giving planning permission for gerry-built city-living shoe boxes and ripping the soul out of Birmingham’s only live music area.
19-24 These are worrying. The concerns raised were that the EHD have on file a number of complaints about loud music (needless to say that these were not witnessed by an EHO). Two of these were for days when there was no music of any sort, live, dead or only moribund and three claimed that music went on beyond my licensing hours. All completely untrue!
EHD have checked one of these complaints, and the complainant agreed that the noise was from another venue. However, when I asked for a list of the complaints, this one was still included. No reason given as to why it was still there, but an assurance that only “witnessed” complaints are used in court. Then look at answer 19. They are going to be able to use evidence from people who, if not merely mistaken, are lying.
22 Gina, Carl, Justin, Kent and Karen et al, do not be complacent. It is not sufficient for you to satisfy the majority of the populace, according to the EHD, under the legislation they choose to use, not even the vast majority. YOU HAVE TO SATISFY EVERY SINGLE RESIDENT. They have the same rights as if they’d purchased accommodation in sunny suburbia.
THE ONLY WAY YOU’LL SURVIVE WILL BE IF THE RULES ARE CHANGED FOR DIGBETH.
Bitching on these sites will be to no avail. The men at the top (you know – the guys we elect, and pay, to do OUR BIDDING) need to be told that the rules need changing:
- Planners are not to collude with developers.
- Developers are not to be allowed to build hollow drums with bits falling off and then **** off without completing the job.
- Institutions, even recent ones, have to be given the respect that they deserve.
- Digbeth should not be the new Brindley Place, it should be the new Chernobyl. If you don’t like radiation, stay in Moseley with Martin Mullaney and members of the Planning Department.

Incidentally, coming from an Irish family, I’m well acquainted with the sayings “You’ve never seen a poor farmer” and “Farmers putting on the Poor-mouth”. So I’ll set matters straight. Over a two year period (730 days) we hosted 66 events (31 of them noisy - and legal) in the garden. These produced just over 30% of the total income for the pub for the period and allowed it to function for the other 664 days so that the Irish traditional musicians could use the facilities, or Old Time Irish music could be played on a Sunday night, or the Catholic Schools’ Sports Association could have their meetings and various other organizations, from Friends of The Earth to Climate Change groups and even anarchists and vegetarians, could use the premises.
During this time the pub just about broke even.
Without the events in the garden, noisy and quiet, The Spotted Dog closes. It will never be sold - Anne and I have put too much of our lives into it to see a developer profit from it – it will just close!

Bugger me! Glad to have got that off my chest. Now, who’s next…???


E-Mail and replies
Further to our phone conversation on Thursday 12th July 2007, I need to be certain that I understand the situation.
Can you confirm the following from our phone calls and your visits:
1. It is alleged that I have committed a noise nuisance by virtue of Section 79(1)(g) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990
2. You informed me of my right to appeal the Abatement Notice
3. Until the appeal is adjudicated the Notice is suspended
4. Should I be deemed to have committed a further offence in the period between informing the Magistrates Court of my intention to appeal and the decision by the Magistrates that no further action could be taken against me under the above legislation
1-4. Once the appeal is lodged at the Magistrates Court the notice is suspended. During the period of suspension no action can be taken if further offences take place. If the appeal is upheld the notice will be withdrawn but if the appeal is dismissed it becomes effective from the date of the decision.

5. It is your intention to pre-empt this situation, in the event of further complaints, by informing the Licensing Department of Birmingham City Council (BCC) that in your opinion I have been responsible for a Public Nuisance
5. If further complaints are received during the period that the notice is suspended and noise nuisance is substantiated, a review of the licence may be requested. At the present time no such request has been made.

6. This, if agreed by the Licensing Department of BCC, could lead to conditions being attached to my licence or to the licence being revoked
6. Yes. Following a review conditions can be attached to the licence. The licensing authority also has the power to suspend or revoke a licence.

7. I have discussed with you on numerous occasions the possibility of arranging a meeting between the complainants, yourself and me to work out what is deemed acceptable to the complainants
8. You have attempted to arrange such a meeting
9. You have been unable to arrange such a meeting
7-9. It has not been possible to arrange such a meeting as there is insufficient interest from the complainants

10. Under the above legislation it is not necessary for your Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) to use sound monitoring equipment to deem noise a nuisance
10. Correct.

11. The EHO witnesses have, to date, not used any such equipment
11. Correct.

12. The reason that they have not used such equipment is that they are not required to do so
12. Correct.

13. The concept of noise nuisance is entirely subjective
13. Generally.

14. You have been unable, so far, to arrange any experiment using my sound equipment to enable me to judge what is acceptable
14. Correct.

15. I have requested such an experiment on more than one occasion
16. On dates that I suggested might be appropriate for such experimentation your Department did not have personnel available
15-16. Correct.

17. I have not been able to receive any objective assessment of the nuisance alleged
17. Correct.

18. Inappropriate sound insulation installed by developers with the agreement of BCC Planning Department is outside your terms of reference when investigating Noise Nuisance
18. Correct.

19. Only EHO-witnessed alleged nuisance can be used as evidence
19. In court proceedings evidence from complainants is also used.

20. You keep on file unwitnessed allegations
20. Yes

21. My more recent requests for details of further allegations have not been acknowledged
21. In a telephone conversation on 28/06/07 you were informed that Environmental Health Officers had witnessed a statutory noise nuisance at one of the complainant’s properties on the 23/06/07. You were also informed about this in person later on the same day. Since the 23/06/07 no further complaints have been received by the Department regarding loud music emanating from the Spotted Dog.

22. EHO-witnessed complaints have all been from the same address
22. Yes

23. I wrote to you, at great length and in detail, after one of your letters, raising a number of issues that were of concern to me
23. Yes

24. I have not had a reply to that letter
24. Concerns regarding planning matters will need to be addressed to the planning Department.

As stated in the letter dated 22/06/07 (reference AOW/KB/3433957/SDB2645) the Department will only consider taking formal action when a statutory nuisance has either been witnessed by an Environmental Health Officer, in person, or where evidence has been obtained using noise monitoring equipment installed by the Department.

The letter also sent to you on 22/06/07 (reference PH/NN6B/3454995) means that investigations will take place to determine whether a statutory nuisance is being caused. Action would only be considered when evidence is obtained that a statutory nuisance has occurred for this case.

Statutory nuisance is a subjective test; the Act does not require quantitative measurements.

The Department is investigating complaints of regular noise nuisance, not ‘one off’, occasional noisy events.


25. EHO visits to complainant’s apartment occurred between the hours of 22.57 and 01.15 on three separate occasions at request of the complainant
25. Yes

26. I requested, some weeks ago, and on numerous occasions since, copies of the EHOs reports of the alleged offences.
27. I was told that you would have to check with your legal department before you could reveal the contents of the reports
28. This situation has not been resolved

26-28. Due to Data Protection issues we are not able to release this information.

Finally, one question:
Can I expect to see the evidence to be used against me before any Court action?
Finally;
Before any court action defendants are allowed to see the evidence via ‘prior disclosure’.



As you will appreciate, in view of the strict time limits placed on applications to appeal, I need your replies quite urgently
Thankyou,
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Old July 26th, 2007, 06:19 PM   #36
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I've signed your petition abacus.

I share your frustration with people who move to an area then try to change it's character.

I live in Bournville and am sick of people who move into our green leafy suburb and immediately cut down the tree outside their house and half of the back garden!!!! Drives me mad!
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Old August 6th, 2007, 02:55 PM   #37
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The plight of the Spotted Dog appears in the Post's culture section today - quite an even-handed full-pager from their muso editor Neil Connor.
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Old August 7th, 2007, 01:53 AM   #38
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Here is that Post article:

Quote:
City living's threat to Digbeth vibrancy
Aug 6 2007

By Neil Connor


Amid concerns that city living is threatening to extinguish Digbeth's unique vibrancy. Neil Connor pulls up a bar stool at the pub at the centre of the row.

Every music-lover has that Lazarus-like moment when they either decide to dedicate their lives to playing instruments or propping up bars while others do the strumming.

I was lucky that my very own moment of clarity came with one of the bands that defined a generation in a district that defines a city.

June 28 1989: The Stone Roses at Birmingham Irish Centre in Digbeth. I may have only seen three songs due to a bouncer's over-zealous imposition of the bar's 'no children' policy (I was 14 at the time), but that moment sticks in the memory above and beyond my other special Birmingham gigs; Nirvana and Kraftwerk.

From then on I was hooked, and every weekend I was at either The Ship Ashore, The Barrel Organ or the Hummingbird wearing darker and darker clothes as my ear drums became more and more damaged.


Back then, to get from Digbeth to the city centre you had to negotiate a maze of under-passes and stairways, that, quite frankly, was not worth contemplating if it meant you got further and further away from the quirky pubs that lined Deritend. The concrete collar that council leaders spent the last 10 years ripping apart gave those who went to Digbeth a barrier from the monotony of city centre pubs, particularly John Bright Street.


The barrier also gave Digbeth is unique sense of vibrancy; a Moseley or a Camden, but with the benefits of being on the doorstep of the city centre's shops and transport links.


Running through this character is Digbeth's musical heritage which remains as strong as ever today. And with the district's music festival Gigbeth preparing for bigger and better things in November, it seems that the sound of power chords and bass drums look set to continue to echo around the city's former industrial heartland for a good while longer.


However, fears have been raised that the eclectic character of the district could lead to its downfall. Designer flats have started to spring up in Digbeth as professionals attempt to recapture the vibrancy that they first experienced when they visited the area on weekends during their college years.


However, these same people have come to value their sleep over the atmosphere of Digbeth. Opposition to noise levels in Digbeth has caused landlords and musicians in the district to voice concern that its musical heritage could be under threat. Complaints have been made about noise levels in one pub in particular - The Spotted Dog.


This issue bears more than a passing resemblance to the Fiddle and Bone saga five years ago. A canalside pub that became the place to be for people interested in live music shut its doors after complaints from 'city living' residents living nearby in plush apartments.


The Spotted Dog was recently served with a noise abatement order following complaints from residents in the nearby Abacus Building. It would be no exaggeration to say that the flats are near to the pub; some practically overlook the garden, where much of the noise emanates from as bands have come to use an outdoor marquee to play their music.


Landlord John Tighe has been involved with the pub for more than 20 years. Over that time he has developed its reputation as a springboard for young bands and a focal point for traditional Irish folk music.


The Spotted Dog is certainly a Digbeth gem. Positioned on the edge of Moseley, it is a traditional pub with strong leanings towards its Irish roots. It seems that if live music is not possible in The Spotted Dog, it would be under threat in all corners of Digbeth.


Mr Tighe has rejected suggestions that an 11pm curfew could be imposed on the garden, on the grounds that poor council planning has caused the problems, and so the council should resolve the issue. He said: "The council has been so desperate to get a prestigious residential development into Digbeth that it have bent over backwards for the Abacas Building.


"This has meant that usual noise reduction measures have not been enforced on the developers, and so the sound from The Spotted Dog probably is quite loud. But I would say that the onus is on the council and the developers to put the noise reduction measures in place.


"There has been a pub on this site for over a hundred years and I have been here for more than 20 years, so why should I have to change the way I do things? If people want to move into the city centre they should realise the way of life here is going to be totally different to Sutton Coldfield or Solihull."


Jackpike is just one of many young bands that have regularly played at The Spotted Dog, in the garden marquee. However last Friday, the band's drummer Alex Fisher was forced to set up his kit in a small corner inside the pub. He fears that the atmosphere of the venue will not be the same if bands are forced to perform inside in the future.


He said: "There was a really good atmosphere outside and the bands loved playing there because it does not get hot and stuffy. We were able to wire up all our kit outside and there was a lot of room for us to perform on a stage.


"But there isn't even a stage indoors. The Spotted Dog is a great pub for young bands like us. There are not that many places that we can perform. It is very much like a traditional Digbeth pub, which is why we like it so much. Digbeth is a fantastic melting pot of all different cultures. It is a one of the most colourful places in the Midlands and it would be a tragedy if it changed."


A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said the Digbeth and Cheapside areas were identified as "suitable for the development of a mix of uses including residential, commercial and cultural uses. The council wants to ensure traditional pubs, such as The Spotted Dog, remain in Digbeth, as they "form part of the traditional character of the area".


However, the spokesman warned it was "difficult, however, to find the perfect balance where new developments are located in close proximity to existing public houses to ensure no conflict occurs, particularly where loud music is involved."


Mr Tighe will soon be at Birmingham Magistrates Court to appeal against the noise restrictions currently in place at his venue - so the battle is far from over.


On Saturday his pub staged an outdoor party - for a resident of the Abacus Building. In fact, residents at the development have even set up their own website in support of The Spotted Dog.


This follows on from a website campaign launched by the West Midlands' own media 'Stirrer" Adrian Goldberg - another self-confessed live music lover. Digbeth, like Sheepcote Street five years ago, now stands on the brink of having its future determined; city living or live music and vibrancy.


For the good of the district, it is hoped by many that the two sides are not incompatible.

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Old September 10th, 2007, 01:18 PM   #39
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Planning Application C/03742/06/FUL http:/www.birmingham.gov.uk/Generate...&MENU_ID=12189 for residential development opposite The Adam & Eve pub (rock music 6 nights a week) included a comprehensive noise survey carried out by Spectrum which took into account the music at the pub. Recommendation that no habitable rooms face Adam & Eve has resulted in application being withdrawn. Whinging visit by developer to see Gina, the Licensee, would have been a delight to behold. Back to the drawing board and design something appropriate. Is it going to be detrimental to the development of the "Irish Quarter" of Digbeth if there is an insistence that accommodation is "quality" rather than "quantity"?
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Old September 10th, 2007, 01:52 PM   #40
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Not at all, and it at least sounds like the council have recognised the issue (unless it was just a clued-up planning consultant).
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