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Lifeline for Flapper after flats development rejected

By Carl Jackson | Birmingham | News | Published:

Plans to demolish popular Birmingham music venue The Flapper to build apartments have been rejected.

The Flapper. Photo: Google Maps

The decision is a lifeline to the 12,000-plus people who have lobbied to save the canal-side pub at Kingston Row – although they were told it will still be closed in the new year because it requires more than £450,000 to refurbish it.

Birmingham City Council’s planning committee had previously deferred the proposal but on Thursday voted down Baskerkville Wharf LLP’s application to bulldoze it and and build 27 apartments.

They argued it would remove a valued community asset whilst the housing scheme would negatively impact on the canal. Although the committee will have to approve formal reasons at a later date.

Councillor Lou Robson argued that The Flapper has ‘obviously got huge value to the local residents and the music industry’ and called for the building to be locally listed.

Whilst Councillor Gareth Moore said: “I do think the application has benefits and it is well designed but those benefits do not outweigh the fact it is a treasured community asset as it is clearly a well-loved establishment.

“I appreciate the applicant has stated their intention to close it but it is not closed at the moment.

“It is currently trading and who knows what might happen in the near feature which may allow it to continue to do so.”

And Councillor Mike Ward argued that the site’s current use as a music venue was the ‘best use’ for it.

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The Flapper is around 50 years old and has helped kick-start scores of musicians including the Editors band.

But as revealed at a previous committee meeting the building is in need of investment.

Council planning officer David Wells had recommended the scheme be approved.

He said: “The premises are old and many aspects of it are reaching the end of its practical life and if retained would require extensive refurbishment or replacement to continue functioning. We estimate that the total cost could be in the region of £450,000.

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“A rent review is due from the freeholder, further increasing the burden of costs to be met by the applicant.

“These additional costs will render the continued operation of the business untenable since funding is not available to meet all these costs.

“The applicant has previously agreed to a reduction in rent for the operational tenant by over 20 per cent and has held this for the past eight years.

“This has enabled the tenant to continue to operate the pub/venue to date but this is not a sustainable position moving forwards.

“It is not an option to increase the rent paid by the tenant sufficiently to cover these costs.”

He confirmed that Baskerville Wharf LLP still intended to close The Flapper on January 7.

Carl Jackson

By Carl Jackson
@CarlJackson_LDR

Local Democracy Reporter covering Birmingham City Council.

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