A Government bid to give live music a boost by relaxing current licensing laws has been rejected by city councillors in Birmingham, who claim it could leave suburban residents open to loud, thumping noise.
Birmingham’s licensing chiefs believe the plan to allow anyone to perform anywhere to crowds of less than 100 people is ‘flawed’, ‘unworkable’ and would lead to chaos.
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport, following concerted lobbying from the music and arts industries, wants to exempt all small scale performance from licensing regulations.
The licensing committee slammed the proposals saying they do not differentiate between professional and amateur performances, charity events or even acoustic or amplified music.
They claim that what is designed to free up schools and church halls to organise fund-raising concerts, or allow pubs to put on small acts, could in fact lead to loud rock’n’roll or dance music in suburban pubs.
Under the Governments proposals, only after complaints of noise and nuisance have been received could licensing authorities stop performances.
A council response said: “These proposals are generally unwelcome. The current legislation is clear in respect of live music/entertainment, any attempt to introduce certain exemptions result in lack of clarity, confusion for communities and difficulties for enforcement agencies.”
At the very least they suggest that only acoustic music is permitted, to ensure that noise is not a problem for communities. Coun Sue Barton (Cons, Longbridge) said: “These are flawed and ill thought out proposals.”
Committee chairman David Osborne (Lib Dem, South Yardley) added: “It is only after something goes wrong that we can do anything about it.”
But Coun Mike Leddy (Lab, Brandwood) spoke up for live music and said: “Why should we stand in the way of a school PTA group or village fete who want to run a small show? As it stands if a couple of guys with a guitar and accordion want to play they need a licence.”