Birmingham appeal against refusal of planning permission for SEV dismissed

Last year there was a planning application for a pub in Soho Road, Handsworth, Birmingham to convert to a gentleman’s club (planners don’t use the term Sexual Entertainment Venue, it seems – probably just as well given the overlapping jurisdiction of planners and licensing officers in this area). Anyway, the permission was refused, and appealed, but the planning inspector has now dismissed this appeal. Reading the letter, one gets a clear sense that the planning regime overlaps with licensing in quite an awkward way now, as the planning inspector is making the same sort of judgments about appropriateness of locality that a licensing committee would do – albeit that a planning inspector has more experience of judging these things in different contexts nationally, and not merely on the basis of ‘local knowledge’

From the decision letter:

“Several local organisations and people have commented on the acceptability of this type of use in this district centre, raising moral considerations. Some of the nearby community, cultural and religious uses are sometimes open at night, and some members of the local community might not see this type of use as a compatible activity. However, I have considered this proposal purely in terms of valid land-use and planning considerations. I note that this application was refused, against the original advice of the Council’s officers, but the Council has provided substantive and legitimate reasons for refusal, based on valid planning considerations…Consequently, and having considered all the points raised in the written representations, including the objections from local organisations, businesses and residents (including a petition), I conclude that the proposed change of use would be detrimental to the character and function of the Soho Road district centre, with the risk of crime and unsocial behaviour. These are sound and clear-cut reasons to refuse planning permission, and the appeal should therefore be dismissed.”

Full letter here:



One thought on “Birmingham appeal against refusal of planning permission for SEV dismissed

  1. Interesting the the use of the possible threat of crime as part of the reason for refusal. Last time I worked in Local Government it was the police that would raise any concerns about this. And as we know from 2011 in general the type of crimes that the planner may have been thinking of are less likely to occur near a SEV than a night club.

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