Fight goes on to save The Bear Club from ‘gagging’ order

The Bear Club has proved popular since it opened in September 2014

The Bear Club has proved popular since it opened in September 2014

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The owner of a popular Luton jazz club now has just short of four weeks to save his venue from extinction.

A noise abatement notice due to be served onThe Bear Club, Mill Yard, has been delayed until the bar’s owner Justin Doherty returns from a film festival in Memphis, Tennessee, this week.

On his return Justin will have 21 days to appeal the notice, which he has said is “effectively a gagging order” as the venue’s events would “without doubt be in further breach of their conditions and liable for further action, prosecution and fines of up to £20,000”.

The order will be served due to complaints from ‘one or two’ nearby flats of alleged excessive noise.

Luton Borough Council will not comment on the case but has said that it only serves abatement notices “when we are satisfied that a noise nuisance exists.”

Using figures previously disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, the Luton News has discovered that The Bear Club is in the minority of businesses which have been served council notices following complaints.

From 2009-2012 LBC officers followed up 390 noise complaints against commercial premises with just 12 noise abatement notices.

In 2011-12 not one of 140 noise complaints ended with censure from the council.

Efforts to save the club in Justin’s temporary absence gather pace as visitors from France, Germany and the US are among the 4,000 who have signed a petition calling on the council to “urgently reconsider its position”.

> To view the petition log on to www.change.org/p/luton-borough-council-save-the-bear-club-and-live-music-in-luton-town-centre