Plan to turn part of nightclub into eatery ‘a good compromise’

Carinas Nite Club

Carinas Nite Club - Credit: Archant

‘Compromise’ plans that safeguard part of Sidmouth’s only nightclub have been backed ‘wholeheartedly’ by civic leaders.

Town councillors saw no planning reason to oppose a previous application to convert Carinas into an eatery, so ‘reluctantly’ supported it.

District chiefs blocked the change to prevent the loss of a social gathering facility, so owner Residential Trust Ltd submitted new plans that propose converting less than half of the venue into a bar or restaurant.

Councillor Ian Barlow, who chairs Sidmouth Town Council’s planning committee, but was absent from the vote on the last application, said: “You voted to support it last time, but said you were dissatisfied. He [the applicant] has listened to you and I think it’s very sensible. It keeps the nightclub open.

“If something isn’t being used, you can’t blame someone for wanting to shut it.

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“When we were there 20 years ago everyone, the council and the police, wanted to shut it – now they won’t let them.

“I think we should support this wholeheartedly.”

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Cllr John Rayson seconded the proposal, saying: “This seems like an extremely good compromise. I think there’s definitely a need for a good restaurant that stays open in evenings. Hopefully it will satisfy that as well as being a setting for youngsters.”

In its application, Residential Trust Ltd said average trade is less than half of the 400 people the club is licensed for and that trend is unlikely to reverse.

It proposed changing the use of the existing bar and lounge area and associated storage and facilities into A3 (café/restaurant) use or A4 (drinking establishment).

The nighclub’s current floorspace is 320sqm, but this will be cut to 180sqm under the proposals.

District councillor Cathy Gardner has repeated her objection to the previous proposals, saying: “The town needs facilities for younger people and loss of this club should be resisted, according to Local Plan policy.

“The owner could perhaps work with a group of young people to revitalise the club in terms of events and music. Another café/restaurant here is not needed as far as I can tell – the centre of town is over-supplied already.”

East Devon District Council will decide the fate of the application.

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