Boltz nightclub – a fetish club on Kent Street in Birmingham’s gay village – could be demolished to accommodate a new 15-storey apartment block. Boltz, which describes itself as the Midlands’ “horniest club”, is currently located near the Nightingale Club and has a capacity for 900 people. However, after plans were submitted last week by developers Prosperity Southside Residences Ltd, the fetish club’s current building could be demolished and replaced with 147 apartments.
Two previous applications for planning permission on this site were refused due to noise concerns from the Nightingale Club. Prosperity Southside Residences Ltd has now returned with a new plan which would ensure that no apartments face the Nightingale Club. This apartment block could, therefore, join a number of other controversial developments in the LGBTQ+ quarter, which have had noise concerns raised in relation to the Nightingale and other nightclubs and bars in the area.
When asked to comment on the planning application, a spokesperson for Boltz told Scene: “Boltz has been a long-standing part of the West Midlands LGBTQ+ scene for 23 years and attracts people from right across the region and beyond. The club, like others in the gay village, has had to re-home three times already due to the redevelopments within the area, and the availability of commercial property. While it’s great to see clubs like the Nightingale receiving some investment and planning considerations, more must be done to safeguard the future of our LGBTQ+ night life.
“We have a good relationship with our landlords and must stress that at this stage only planning is being sought for, and an exit strategy is yet to be agreed.”
Regarding previous planning applications that threatened the Nightingale’s balcony areas, owner of the Nightingale, Lawrence Barton explained: “The relationship between residential and night-time economies can work. If you take any major city centre or gay districts like Soho in London or Manchester, then inevitably over time, residential developments are going to be more commonplace. What each developer has to be mindful of is that they have to respect the community and the night-time economy that is already there.
“They are going to have people coming out at unsociable hours and people making noise. It’s a complex puzzle of trying to navigate our way forward and embracing developments, while also not ruining the LGBTQ+ community. I think there is space for both of them.”