Published: 13:30, 10 November 2020
| Updated: 14:24, 10 November 2020
Police have raised “significant concerns” over the proposed opening hours of a bar vying to launch in Canterbury city centre.
National chain Slug & Lettuce wants to open up its first Kent venue in the former Currys PC World store in Longmarket.
The eyesore unit has fallen into a state of disrepair in recent years but developers believe they can breathe new life into the site and boost the city’s night-time economy.
Proposals to convert the large shop are currently in the hands of the city council’s planning department, with a number of supporters backing the scheme.
Residents in neighbouring flats have however raised fears over drunken revellers vomiting and urinating in the street, and the potential for noise until 2am when the business is set to shut on Friday and Saturday.
In submitting its views on the Slug & Lettuce plan to operate from late in the morning through to the early hours, Kent Police says the “proposed opening hours are a significant concern”.
An officer said: “With plans for an increasing amount of residential development within the city centre, the night-time economy must not be counter-productive but balanced to benefit the area and reduce problems associated with this building being empty at ground floor level.
“In its current format, this application could attract a higher number of visitors to that specific area and its size and number of access points would be difficult to manage. The direction and behaviour of rejected persons are a concern.”
The force advises that admission to the bar should likely stop at 11pm and all outside dining should cease at 10pm.
They also say a security plan should be drawn up and call for the existing residents in the flats above to not be vulnerable to crime or fearful of crime.
Meanwhile, Canterbury Cathedral’s estate, the Dean & Chapter, which owns scores of surrounding units in the Burgate area, has called for the weekend operating hours to be “reduced to a more acceptable level”.
Currently, the site is regularly used by rough sleepers and attracts a build-up of unsightly rubbish.
Previous landlord DSG Retail had been leasing the store to Computers 4 Africa. But the charity rarely used the premises - giving the impression the unit was empty.
Slug & Lettuce previously attempted to open up in the prominent location almost 20 years ago but the scheme was rejected.
A Slug & Lettuce spokesman this week said the plans are “on hold” due to the impact of Covid-19.