Digbeth pub The Fountain given noise warning after charity gig by duo
A small family-run pub in Digbeth has been served with a noise warning after it played host to a two-man band at a charity event to help soldiers in Afghanistan.
The Fountain on Cheapside decided to stage a one-off fund-raising evening for armed forces charity Help For Heroes as two of its regular customers have friends or family serving in Afghanistan.
Landlords Pat and Brian Tohill invited two musicians – one on guitar and one on vocals – to provide some entertainment for the night, which was over by 12.30am.
A local resident took exception and complained to the council’s environmental health department.
The pub then received a letter from Birmingham City Council saying it had received a complaint alleging it was causing “a noise nuisance” from live bands.
Mr Tohill said the situation was “just daft” as The Fountain Inn was a quiet local frequented by a handful of regular customers.
“It’s a middle-aged pub with a few regulars – it’s more a family pub than anything else,” he said. “We’re normally closed by 11pm on a Friday or Saturday night as there’s nobody here.
“But the one night we try to make a bit of money somebody complains.”
The letter sent to the Tohills warned that if there were any further incidences of the pub causing a noise nuisance, the city council would investigate and take any appropriate action.
The council explained that it was duty-bound to send a warning letter once a complaint had been received.
A council spokeswoman said: “This does not automatically mean that action would follow. It would be great to see neighbours working together to resolve issues such as these.”
Tension between venues and local residents over noise has hung over Digbeth in the past few years as city centre flats have sprung up next door to pubs and music venues which have been established for years.
The Spotted Dog, The Rainbow and more recently the firms B9 Events and Soul Factory, that run large night-time events at the Custard Factory, have all been handed noise abatement orders following complaints from residents in nearby flats.
Birmingham reggae giants UB40 even staged a one-off gig at The Rainbow to help it raise funds to install a new roof in a bid to sound-proof the venue and prevent further noise complaints.
Mr Tohill said The Fountain Inn was not a music venue, so he was shocked to see his small pub embroiled in the noise debate.
“We do events for charity once or twice a year for people like St Mary’s Hospice but we don’t make any noise or anything like that,” he said.
“Whoever complained obviously lives near here and they know we don’t have any music normally.”