Plans for Sidmouth’s only nightclub approved

Carinas Nite Club

Carinas Nite Club - Credit: Archant

Part of Sidmouth’s only nightclub is set to become a café or restaurant after planning bosses blocked a bid to convert the whole of the premises.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) refused the previous proposals for Carinas because the town would lose a ‘social gathering facility’ that contributes to its ‘vibrancy and vitality’.

Owners Residential Trust Ltd came back with a fresh application that safeguards more than 50 per cent of the nightclub – arguing that trade on a good night it is half the 400 people it is licensed for.

Approving the plans by delegated powers, officers said: “The current proposal would retain the dance floor and bar area of the nightclub and would therefore continue to provide a venue for ‘social gathering’.

“Although the club would be smaller than the existing venue, the agent has argued that it is still able to meet existing demand, which is lower than the current capacity.

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“Reducing the size of the premises would also help to make the business more commercially viable.

“Having regard to the decline of nightclubs nationwide and the availability of pubs in the town late licences, a reduction in the size of the venue rather than its complete loss would be a good outcome for the community.”

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In its application, Residential Trust Ltd said the business breaks even on paper but there is no residual profit, adding: “This trend is very unlikely to reverse and the operators want to work with the local authority to achieve a way in which to maintain the financial viability of the premises before the situation reaches the critical point of closure.”

The application says the additional day and evening use through the majority of the week will create additional jobs, and the new use could provide an alternative type of social meeting place.

The new restaurant or café will be accessed via the main doors in Fore Street.

Councillor Cathy Gardner had objected but later withdrew her comments, saying: “I would like to see the club maintained for some set minimum period of time though, to make sure this is not a short step to closing it.

“It’s so important to keep facilities in the town for younger people when we have so little.”

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