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Police fears over revival of disused music venue.

Byline: Gurdip Thandi Local Democracy Reporter

AFORMER concert venue in Birmingham's city centre is to be given a new lease of life, despite police concerns.

Brothers Hitesh and Manoj Chauhan, and their company Dale End Ltd, want to resurrect the former Carling Academy, which has been empty for seven years, as the Birmingham Forum.

They plan to host live music, theatre shows, sporting events, club nights, comedy, and even popular talent show auditions for the likes of X Factor or Britain's Got Talent.

Birmingham City Council's licensing sub-committee has approved the application.

It will be allowed to open from 10am to 6am Mondays to Saturdays and noon to 3am on Sundays.

But no mention was made of the fact that the entire complex, in Dale End, is set to be redeveloped as part of the proposed Martineau Galleries office and retail scheme within a few years.

The Chauhans currently hold licences for city centre venues The Q Club, in Corporation Street, Monastery, in High Street, and The Lock, in Gas Street.

West Midlands Police objected to the opening hours of the new club, saying there was no need for the Forum to be open so long.

And licensing officer Pc Abdool Rohomon also raised concerns about the Chauhans' businesses, submitting a 300-page dossier outlining individual calls and complaints police had received regarding their three venues.

One of these, regarding an alleged assault of a customer by a bouncer at the Q Club, led to a review in May 2016 and the venue's licence being suspended for three months.

Pc Rohomon said he was not against the Forum opening, but wanted to restrict opening hours until midnight from Sundays to Thursday and 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. He also suggested strict conditions be placed on the licence.

Barrister Sarah Clover, who represented the applicants, said the substance of those incidents listed in the dossier amounted to nothing more than "he said, she said and they didn't say".

She added the Q Club incident in 2016 was resolved on appeal and the venue reopened, while the committee at the time described it as an 'isolated incident'.

She said: "There are some significant slurs on management competence in those papers which are not accepted and never have been."

The venue has previously been called The Hummingbird and the O2 Academy and once hosted some of the biggest names in rock and pop.

It was called the Birmingham Ballroom when it closed its doors in January 2013.

Ms Clover added: "This is a visionary and positive application for a major premises. It is a very large and significant venue in Birmingham in the daytime and night-time economy.

"What the applicants are looking to do is exactly what you'd imagine with live gigs, live music, major artists, it's for things like X Factor, Britain's Got Talent, pantomimes, comedy shows and all of those sort of things that the premises were built for.

The gentlemen behind the application are experienced operators within the Birmingham night-time economy."


The former Birmingham Ballroom has been empty for seven years

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Author:Gurdip Thandi Local Democracy Reporter
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 13, 2020
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