License Review for Mechu on Summer Row

As a result of complaints from several residents of Islington Gates on Fleet Street, a license review is underway for Mechu on Summer Row on the grounds of "Public Nuisance". Mechu currently has a 4am license.

"Reason: The club causes a public nusiance in the form of excessive and unnecessary incessant noise from loud amplified music, taxi horns sounding, and noise from patrons leaving the club"

Mechu on Summer Row
Mechu with Islington Gates in the background

Local residents in the Islington Gates development, particularly those in Block A closest to Summer Row, are regularly disturbed at "kicking-out time" by groups of drunken folk singing and screaming whilst waiting for taxis. On occasion these taxis park illegally and tout for business, clogging up the road and creating more noise (honking). This video shot by a resident a few months ago illustrates the issue:

A few months ago the Council held meetings with Mechu, who offered to use one of their employees as an unofficial taxi marshall taking bookings and attempting to stop illegal touting. There was some initial success although the problem seems to have persisted. The Council's licensing officers also pay regular visits to Summer Row which clears up the problem while they're there, but when they're not visible the problem returns.

The taxi issue is not solely down to Mechu of course, with Bluu, Apres and the Shakespeare all on the same strip. So to use taxi noise as a driver for a license review is ropey at best. I would assume the license review will concentrate on the noise from the club and any public order issues caused by patrons leaving the venue, rather than the noise from the taxis.

It also raises the question of how responsible a venue should be for its customers once they have left the premises? If a group of intoxicated ladies stay outside the venue for half-an-hour shouting for cabs or into their phones, who's responsibility is that?

Those eagle-eyed amongst you will note my support for The Rainbow in their battle against a Noise Abatement Order brought on by one resident of the Abacus Apartments in Digbeth. With the Rainbow situation, there is one complainer in a residential block a considerable distance away from the venue, the other side of a major road, apparently disturbed every so often. In this instance Islington Gates is directly opposite the club and numerous residents have consistently been disturbed.

The common argument is the venues were there first, therefore residents should expect noise. This holds true - the residents of Islington Gates were fully away of the bars when they moved in, however since then Summer Row and Mechu in particular has become livelier much later into the night.

So what are the potential solutions?

1) The Mechu license is restricted to 2am. This would ensure the area is free from noise by approximately 2.30am, instead of 4.30am. Perhaps this could be restricted to midnight on weekdays?

2) A signed taxi rank is created on Lionel Street, the other end of Summer Row. The difficulty here is marshalling and preventing illegal taxis from touting for business at the Fleet Street end.

You can comment on the license review by emailing licensing@birmingham.gov.uk before 9th July 2009.

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  1. What the council or government need to do is send a letter to all taxi drivers and reminding them that it is illegal to use their horns after 11.15pm, and enforce it.

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