Sidmouth nightclub owners hit out at EDDC

Carinas Nite Club

Carinas Nite Club - Credit: Archant

The owners of Sidmouth’s only nightclub say they will appeal a decision to reject plans to convert it into an eatery.

Residential Trust Ltd, which owns Carinas, told the Herald there is ‘nothing stopping’ it closing the venue - if it wished to - but there are no immediate plans to do so.

It added there is ‘no way’ consent would be given for a new nightclub and the decision could see the town miss out on getting a quality restaurant with a ‘named chef’.

East Devon District Council (EDDC) refused the change of use to a café or restaurant on the basis that Sidmouth would lose a ‘social gathering facility’ that contributes to its ‘vibrancy and vitality’.

Officers said this was in conflict with the authority’s Local Plan.

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Residential Trust Ltd director Chris Eccles said: “I should be surprised by this, but, in view of the culture that exists within the EDDC planning department, nothing shocks me any more. If it was a vacant building, there is no way they would grant consent for a nightclub.

“Of course, there is nothing stopping us just closing it anyway.

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“It’s a real shame for the town and I am sure that the addition to the town of a large, quality restaurant with a named chef would have boosted the local economy.”

Mr Eccles said the trust would appeal the decision. He previously said there were no immediate plans to close Carinas.

The refusal came after nearly 300 people signed a petition against the nightclub’s closure, which Sidmouth Town Council said would be a ‘great loss’ for youngsters.

Reacting to the decision, petition organiser Philip Clode, 19, said it was ‘awesome news’.

Refusing the application under delegated powers, an EDDC officer said: “The change of use would entail the loss of a social gathering facility which contributes to a balanced community within Sidmouth and its vibrancy and viability in conflict with the aims of Strategy 4 of the East Devon Local Plan.

“It is not considered that the provision of a café or restaurant would adequately compensate for this loss, and in the absence of evidence demonstrating that the retention of the site for its nightclub use has been explored without success for a period of at least 12 months, or that surplus provision exists in the locality, the loss is not considered justifiable.”

The proposals applied to the ground floor and basement that are currently used as a nightclub. The floors above are residential.

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