The owner of a popular jazz club has expressed his delight after generous customers raised £9,400 to save his venue from the threat of closure.
The future of the Bear Club, in Mill Yard, was placed into jeopardy last month after Luton Borough Council served a noise abatement notice on owner Justin Doherty.
Justin, who said that the notice was “essentially a gagging order”, set up a fund and turned to his patrons for help to meet the cost of essential soundproofing works.
On Tuesday the Bear Club passed its £9,400 target after a flurry of donations from concerned locals.
Justin told the Herald & Post that the support for his bar has been “flattering and heartwarming”
He said: “Anyone in doubt about the spirit and community of Luton need look no further than this.
“We can’t wait to reopen and bring in old friends and new ones too. Great music and friendship will await you.”
He added: “Every one of them (donations) meant a great deal and there are a couple of very large ones that were real surprises”.
Luton firm Travis Perkins has helped out by sponsoring materials for the work, while A&D Building and Luton Windows have also pitched in with the soundproofing.
The final donation which put The Bear Club over the line was from Luton Town Football Club, which pledged £200.
Justin said: “It’s great when two very different sides of Luton come together like that.
“After all we’re all trying to do the same thing for our town.”
LBC served the abatement notice on the club in early November due to complaints from ‘one or two’ nearby flats of alleged excessive noise.
More than 4,500 enraged regulars signed a petition calling on the council to “urgently reconsider its position”.
LBC did not comment on the case, but said that it only serves abatement notices “when we are satisfied that a noise nuisance exists.”
Many doubted the wisdom of the order, given the proximity of the club to an outdoor music stage that LBC has recently built on the corner of Guildford Street and Bute Street.
Others have also questioned the impact that housing developments are having on live music venues in the town centre.
The topic has returned to the fore as a planning application to convert an office on Guildford Street into a first floor flat was submitted to the council on December 9.
The site is just doors away from the Bear Club.