A controversial nudist hotel which came under fire from local residents when it applied for an alcohol license has WON it’s right to sell booze, it emerged today.
People living near The Clover Spa and Hotel, in Erdington, Birmingham, feared free-flowing alcohol would lead to “lewd behaviour” and turn the venue into a “strip-club.”
Angry residents complained that allowing customers to drink at the naturist hotel would also attract troublemakers and encourage “inappropriate displays of the flesh.”
Owner Tim Higgs, 57, lodged the application with Birmingham City Council for a license allowing live music, alcohol sale and dancing in June.
And on Wednesday a council licensing sub-committee took just 10 minutes to grant the £120-a-night hotel it’s license.
It means the venue – which opened in 2011 as Britain’s first naturist spa – can now serve alcoholic beverages to their naked guests 24 hours a day.
Yesterday Mr Higgs said the ruling had been a victory for common sense.
He said: “I am delighted.
“There wouldn’t have been such uproar if there wasn’t nudity involved – it’s just a small hotel getting an alcohol licence.
“None of the eight agencies that had to be notified put up any objections, and that included child protection who are based next door.
“We are talking a glass of wine with dinner or a drink relaxing in the garden.
“It is a spa, a respectful, quality establishment for naturists, not a pub, you can’t just come in off the street.
“This is something extra for the benefit of customers, not a big part of the business
“It should have been a lot simpler, but I think three people lodged objections so it had to go to an appeal board.
“We’re just relieved its all sorted now and it’s a victory for common sense.”
Birmingham councillors had initially heard fears that giving the hotel a premises licence risked lowering the tone of the area and would make it a “magnet for troublesome individuals and youths”.
Conservative Councillor Robert Alden told the hearing: “There will be a rise in inappropriate behaviour and displays of the flesh.
“We have already had complaints over recent years, passed on to the council about people being nude in the garden and being visible from neighbouring properties and the nursery.
“Having clients who have had a few drinks will only worsen this situation.”
But Birmingham City Council’s licensing sub-committee ruled that those complaining had not given “evidential or causal links” for their concerns.
The meeting was also told there had been no objections from police, fire service, the city’s safeguarding children board or a children’s nursery which is next door to the hotel.
Mr Higgs told councillors: “The naturist – without any disrespect to them – is slightly older than the average population, so we aren’t going to be attracting hardened drinkers and wild youths.
“There is no public access to the hotel or spa, other than to reception, because all the naturist areas are behind key-locked doors.
“So it isn’t true anyone can just wander in – we know who is coming in.”
Mr Higgs converted the 1920s house and opened it as a spa and hotel in spring 2011.
It caters for up to 50 people and was reviewed by TV’s The Hotel Inspector Alex Polizzi last year.