Published: 08:30, 17 April 2014
Plans to open a new youth centre in the former Talk nightclub have been scuppered by legal covenants restricting the building’s uses.
Social policy lecturer Mark Kerr had hoped to open a youth arts club along with a new bar and bistro restaurant at the disused seafront venue.
But the nightclub, which occupies the first floor in the Neptunes Arcade, is restricted from selling items which might clash with the Makcari’s cafe next door. The legal agreement has been in place for many years, binding owners and tenants to the agreed terms.
It states: “No part of the property shall at any time be used as a restaurant, snack bar, cafe, ice cream parlour, coffee bar, or any business of a like nature whatsoever.”
It leaves Mr Kerr unable to open the ArtsHouse Project, despite the months of hard work which he has put in.
He said: “I’m pretty gutted about it. It’s lots of work down the pan. It’s been six months to get it to this point.
“Lots of people have invested time putting together what was to be a project for young people to get involved.
“It would have brought arts, music and activities to an empty building. There are not many sites that are suitable for what we are looking to do.
“It had to be a balance between businesses and the project, as it had to be commercially viable.”
Hassan Hassan took over Makcari’s cafe next door in 2007.
He said: “My solicitors are looking at it and I wouldn’t want to comment because it’s not an easy subject.
“The terms were already in place for a long time when we took over and the owner next door is also fully aware of them.”
Andrew Robinson, who is also involved with the project as an artist manager, was hoping to bring big names to Herne Bay.
He said: “I think the simplest thing would be for them [Makcari’s] to recognise that our project is looking at a completely different demographic. They should waive their covenant terms. To stick to them would not be conducive to the good of the community. The whole seafront here could be amazing.
“The town has got a hell of a lot going for it, but these aren’t being explored.”
The duo now say they are looking for alternative sites in the area and say that Whitstable might be better placed to locate the project.
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