Published: 14:06, 06 February 2021
| Updated: 14:08, 06 February 2021
A national chain preparing to open its first bar in Kent has pulled the plug on the plan.
Slug & Lettuce had its sights set on launching a late-night Canterbury venue in the former Currys PC World store on the corner of Longmarket and Burgate.
But the firm has ditched the proposal due to mounting problems hitting the hospitality industry amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Its 70 venues are among the thousands of pubs and restaurants forced to stay shut for much of the last 10 months.
The decision has left the site’s owners seeking a new potential tenant to take on the large redundant unit opposite Wagamama.
An application to convert the space into a bar/public house therefore still stands and is due to be determined by the city council in the coming months.
In a recent document submitted with the proposal, the planning agents state: “In light of the issues faced by the hospitality industry they [Slug & Lettuce] are now not going to be the final occupier.
“They have withdrawn from discussions with our client and an alternative occupier is now sought.”
The unit, which is earmarked to be split in two in order to cater for a small cafe/restaurant, is currently on the market at a rental value of £340,000 per year.
The plans have been backed by the Canterbury Business Improvement District, which say the scheme will “make the area a safer place for everyone”.
But Kent Police has raised “significant concerns” over the proposed late opening hours, and residents in neighbouring flats have expressed fears over drunken revellers vomiting and urinating in the street.
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 after Currys PC World bowed out of the city centre.
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.
And now, two decades down the line, the firm has again failed to secure its Canterbury vision.