Plans to transform Sidmouth's last nightclub Carinas into trendy eatery approved

PUBLISHED: 11:18 23 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:18 23 July 2018

An artist's impression, showing what the former Carinas site could look like.

An artist's impression, showing what the former Carinas site could look like.

Archant

Controversial plans to transform Sidmouth’s last nightclub into a trendy eatery have been given the go-ahead.

Carinas Nite Club. Ref shs 04-18TI 6549. Picture: Terry IfeCarinas Nite Club. Ref shs 04-18TI 6549. Picture: Terry Ife

A £250,000 vision to transform Carinas, which unexpectedly closed earlier this year, was approved by East Devon District Council on Friday.

The proposals were submitted by director Chris Eccles, of Residential Trust Limited, who owns the club.

Works can now soon begin to replace the ‘unattractive’ canopied door with a glazed and timber front in Dove Lane, and to install a new roof with a glazed atrium above. The planning statement said the nightclub was barely profitable when the owner purchased the venue in October 2015. And, while they managed to halt the decline in their first year, they have since seen a fall in customers and in their turnover.

Mr Eccles spoke previously to the Herald and said the nightclub was a costly exercise requiring staff for both bar areas, a DJ and mandatory qualified door staff - all of which were hard to recruit and retain as they were required for short, unsocial hours, according to the application.

He added that he envisioned a ‘high-quality development’ that would serve ‘the current trend for coffee shops which become wine bars/restaurants in the evening’.

Mr Eccles also said whoever ended up operating the venue could also have a small dance floor and apply for a late licence if they wished.

“Work has already commenced on the Fore Street part of the building that already has consent and we would like to continue the restoration work to cover the entire building,” said Mr Eccles.

“It must be remembered that, prior to the nightclub use, the building did form the Trumps Café and rear Winter Garden, which was a substantial tea room and café. I believe this scheme will help to substantially improve the street scene and add to the vitality and employment of the town, if we can find the right operator to run the completed unit. It should help to boost adjoining businesses in the town.

“There will be those that give us criticism for closing the club, but it became an out-dated concept with ever-falling customer numbers that made it unsustainable. We will be investing more than £250,000 in the building structure alone, before it is fitted out and this amount could not be justified unless we made a significant change.”

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