Closure plans confirmed for iconic Birmingham music venue The Flapper

Popular Birmingham music venue The Flapper will be closed in January after 50 years, despite the fact plans to bulldoze it and build apartments remain in limbo.

More than 12,000 people have petitioned to save the canal-side pub in the city centre, some of whom turned up at Birmingham City Council’s planning committee earlier today where its fate was due to be decided. But the developer Baskerville Wharf LLP confirmed it is to be shut down anyway, prior to the committee’s decision to defer the 27-apartment proposal, so they could visit the site in person.

The listed crane at The Flapper
(Image: Nick Wilkinson)

Speaking on the developer’s behalf, planning consultant John Jowitt said: “The fabric of the building requires considerable investment to bring it up to modern day standards for a music venue which is simply not viable. As landlords, the applicants have reduced the rent by 25 per cent for the last eight years subsidising the existing operation, it is clearly not sustainable.

“The applicant has previously offered to work with the operators to find another venue however this offer has been declined. As a consequence the premises will close on 7 January 2020 whatever happens today.”

CGI of plans to build 27 apartments on the site of The Flapper pub in Birmingham. Plans lodged May 2019

CGI of plans to build 27 apartments on the site of The Flapper pub in Birmingham. Plans lodged May 2019
(Image: St Paul’s Associates)

Jez Collins had addressed the committee on behalf of campaigners to save The Flapper. He argued it was the venue which helped kick-start the Editors band whilst providing a valuable stage for scores of up and coming musicians.

Mr Collins added: “The Flapper plays an integral role in the local music industry welcoming musicians and fans from across the region and the UK, contributing to the cultural economic viability of the city. At a time when we are welcoming more visitors to the city than ever before we should be supporting not closing our cultural assets.”

Committee members who expressed views appeared to be unimpressed with the development proposal. Cllr Lou Robson argued that cultural venues across the city were ‘really at risk’ and claimed Birmingham had already delivered ‘well over our quota’ for one and two bedroom apartment schemes. She also described the fact that only three homes in the redevelopment scheme would be affordable as ‘pathetic’.

Council planning officers had recommended approval concluding that there were six ‘realistic alternatives’ to The Flapper in the city; the Actress & Bishop, Scruffy Murphy’s, Sunflower Lounge, Mama Roux’s, Victoria and Subside Bar.

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But Cllr Mike Ward dismissed the argument and said: “That’s like saying we don’t need Birmingham Airport because we have got one near Nottingham.”

The committee voted in favour of a motion by Cllr Peter Griffiths to defer the application in order to assess the site first-hand.

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