Updated: Bear Club owner ‘overwhelmed’ with support after closure threat

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

A jazz club owner has said that he has been ‘overwhelmed’ with support after being told that he will be served with an official noise notice by Luton Borough Council.

The abatement notice for alleged ‘excessive noise’ threatens the future of the Bear Club, in Mill Yard, Luton– a venue has proved phenomenally popular since its opening in September 2014.

In a message to the club’s patrons this morning, owner Justin Doherty said that the notice is “essentially a gagging order” and that due to the venue’s events he will “without doubt be in further breach of their conditions and liable for further action, prosecution and fines of up to £20,000.”

This afternoon Justin told the Luton News: “It’s been overwhelming the love and the fight people have put up for The Bear in the last few hours.

“I shouldn’t be surprised. Luton, and the wider reaches, have responded to the club with such passion and commitment since we opened in 2014.

“It was built by Luton, for Luton.”

He added: “We shall make a plan when we know more.

“The council is responding to complaints, that is their task, and when we have the notice in our hands we’ll know more, and can make a plan from there.

“There’s still time and there’s still a fight.”

The club will remain open as planned until midnight on Saturday November 14, but will close thereafter.

This is with the exception of gigs on November 27 (The Partisans), December 5 (Tina May: Centenary of Edith Piaf) and December 19 (CC Smugglers)– which Justin has said he will stage “at the risk of further damnation”.

A Luton Borough Council spokesperson told us: “We cannot comment on individual cases that could be subject to legal action, however, excessive noise can make life a misery and everyone has a right to live in their home without suffering a noise nuisance.

“When we are satisfied that a noise nuisance exists, we have a duty to serve an abatement notice on the person responsible for the nuisance.

“The notice requires the person responsible to stop causing the nuisance.

“Failure to comply with such a notice can attract prosecution and a fine.

“Luton Borough Council’s environmental protection team routinely investigates noise complaints, including from neighbours, industry, construction sites and commercial premises.”