Havana Shisha Lounge to close

For many, the Havana Shisha Lounge in Warner Street was a blot on the Digbeth landscape.

First and foremost, the business opened and ran without planning permission. Following numerous noise complaints from local residents, and incidents requiring police intervention, the Havana owners decided to apply for planning permission to operate within the boundaries of the law.

Following two unsuccessful planning applications, the Havana owners took their case to appeal, which was dismissed by the Inspector. Here is an extract from the decision document:

“Given the history of the shisha lounge use of the site, I remain unconvinced that the site would be managed effectively in the future. I conclude that the proposal would generate a fear of crime and disorder, which would undermine the quality of life and social cohesion of the local community.”

This is the first planning appeal in our area to be dismissed on grounds of crime and disorder.

Digbeth Residents Association have been working with West Midlands Police for some time on this case, since planning decisions are rarely commented on by local policing staff. Our rationale is that time spent by the police in objecting to dubious planning applications now would be returned in multiple in the long-term, in terms of saved time from not dealing with incidents at the premises in question in future.

Digbeth Residents Association is keen to support upstream policing activity and socially responsible businesses in the area. This decision also sends a message to others who ignore planning concerns that the council and the local police will effectively respond to them if there are issues of crime and disorder affecting the local community.

We would like to extend our thanks to the West Midlands Police and the Planning and Regeneration team at Birmingham City Council for their support in this matter.

Pamela Pinski

Digbeth and Proud

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