C&RT silence over Flapper site

August 2017 - Plans to replace The Flapper pub on historic Cambrian Wharf in central Birmingham with 80 flats crammed alongside the basin have already outraged 8,500 people who have signed an online petition against the development, as Peter Underwood reports.

While boaters and music fans are clearly appalled at such an insensitive development in a highly sensitive heritage area and concerned about the impact on those who moor their boats in Cambrian Wharf there has been no comment from Canal& River Trust.

Despite the fact that their historic offices look out onto the pub site and that they have been consulted by the developers the Trust is keeping silent about its view on the plans.

Public relations officer Stephen Hardy told The Floater, after a week's delay: “I’ve checked and we’ve not yet submitted our response to the developers. As they’re consulting ahead of submitting a planning app I’m not sure we’ll be saying anything publicly at this stage.

“If and when this changes I’ll let you know.”

Challenged about C&RT's silence he added: “It’s not a case of being silent, we’re considering our response to the developers and will be speaking directly to them. It’s just not something that we’re commenting on publicly at this stage.”

So it appears there is currently no chance of C&RT joining the chorus of complaints about the Flapper development. It will be interesting to see whether it is wiling to defend its boater customers from the inevitable conflict that will arise between moorers and the occupants of flats within a few feet of boat chimneys and engines, as well a protecting the wharf against the destruction of a part of the canal heritage of Birmingham.

The attitude of The Flapper's regulars and music fans, who have now formed The Flapper Appreciation Society to fight the developers, is summed up by a post by Paul Morgan: “Our beloved Flapper is in danger from evil landlords with twirly moustaches who are planning to stop our fun, demolish the place and turn it into "luxury" apartments.

“Possibly within 12 months. They may even tie our barmaids to railroad tracks.

“We must fight this evil, all the way. Steps are being taken, but I would ask for your support in this, our darkest of hours.

“If you see petitions going around, please sign up to them. If you have the time, please come down and have a drink with us.

“We have lost too many proper venues for our kind, but we will not go quietly. We shall fight them on the towpath, we will fight them on the wharf, we shall never surrender!!!!”

C&RT may – or may not – have the same attitude. It is not telling anyone.

The petition is here: The Flapper petition

Photos: The Flapper site and nearby moorings.

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