The End Of The Rainbow? Part Two

Following on from my previous post regarding the Noise Abatement Order given to the Rainbow in Digbeth.

Last night I attended the official "Rainbow Response" to the Noise Abatement Order. I'd estimate about 300 people were crammed into the pub to hear the statement and with over 20,000 people now supporting the Facebook group, that just goes to show the extent of public feeling about this.

Kent's response was excellent, summarising the current position and giving his thoughts. He confirmed the Rainbow will be appealing the Noise Abatement Order. You can view Pete Ashton's video of Kent's statement here. WARNING: contains swearing!

Rainbow Meeting - Kent Davis from Pete Ashton on Vimeo.

I've also exchanged a few emails with Martin Mullaney about the subject. He's been very open about the latest position on The Stirrer Forum, here's an excerpt:

At the meeting prior to this public meeting, both Clive Dutton, Head of Planning and Regeneration and myself, made it clear to Kent Davies that we want the Rainbow to survive, that we see it as an important part of the culture of Birmingham and that we want to see Digbeth grow as a cultural and creative area.

However, the council has to work within the law. If someone complains about noise, the Council has to investigate. The officers will then have to make a determination as to whether that noise is a statutory nuisance. This will take into account if the noise is a repeat occurrence, what time of day it occurs, what level it is at.

It was also explained that the officers will not be sitting round the corner on 1st August waiting for a minor infringement of noise nuisance. Instead will only respond to complaints....and will again have to make an assessment as to whether it is a statutory nuisance.

The Rainbow - Raise the Roof Festival

So what's next? On 1st August the Rainbow holds its "Raise The Roof" fundraiser, to pay for a new roof on the courtyard. The danger is noise complaints on this day would be a breach of the Noise Abatement Order and could have serious consequences for the venue.

Again, Martin has commented on this:

It was also explained to Kent that there is a level of responsiblity on his part to try to reduce any nuisance from his 1st August event – this would include walking to the Abacus building and listening to the noise level there, using friendly customers in the Abacus building to warn him when the noise levels are getting unacceptable; look at the arrangement of his loudspeakers so the event is not replying on just loudspeakers to fill all of Adderley Street....and finally maybe consider turning down the volume a bit.

Stay tuned for further updates.


The end of the Rainbow?

A matter of hours after blogging about the Live Music bill being proposed by a Lib Dem Lord, news reaches me that The Rainbow in Digbeth has been given a noise abatement order by Birmingham City Council.

This is a real blow to what is a real hotbed of cultural activity - the Rainbow is far more than just a pub. The events are known nationally and the place attracts an incredible mix of international artists and local unknowns.

If this really is off the back of one complaint from a resident of Abacus (which by the way is a fair distance from the Rainbow and the other side of a dual carriageway!) then someone at the Council is making an enormous mistake.

As I write this, the Facebook group set up to support the venue stands a shade short of 19,000 members.

As I wrote yesterday, the issue of city centre residential developments and bars/music venues isn't going to go away, but we have to be sensible about this. The recent closure of TRMNL in the Jewellery Quarter was unfortunate as I felt from a cultural viewpoint the venue was doing great things - but the building was unsuitable, they did not have the correct planning permission and there was a genuine disturbance caused to large numbers of residents. The Council has to take a learning point there from granting a license for unsuitable premises.

There's also a learning point here. In the case of TRMNL there was a groundswell of opposition. In the case of Rainbow, you will struggle to find a single person who thinks closing the venue is the right thing to do.

There is a gathering at the Rainbow at 6.30pm this Friday where the venue will be announcing their next steps.

This morning I will be writing to all the Liberal Democrat councillors I know well to see what can be done to reverse this ludicrous situation.