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Tighter license rules "final nail in Folkestone's coffin"

Stricter night-time license rules could be the “final nail in Folkestone’s coffin,” a doctor has claimed.

Doctor of music Julia Jones’s comment came ahead of Folkestone and Hythe District Council (FHDC)’s looming license review.

In the review the authority hopes to impose tighter restrictions on drinking venues wishing to open later than 11.30pm.

Julia Jones
Julia Jones

Dr Jones, who lives in Folkestone, said: “This effectively is the final nail in the coffin for late night venues in Folkestone.

“Folkestone desperately needs to rebuild its decimated 19-44 year old population in order to avoid a healthcare disaster due to its ageing population.

“Music is key to rebalancing the demographic, young people seek a vibrant night-life, without a vibrant night life Folkestone becomes a successful retirement resort for the middle class 50+ age group.

“Long-term that will have catastrophic consequences for Folkestone.”

Dr Jones, who has a PHD in musical taste, runs Found in Music, a Folkestone company that helps local authorities around the world to promote music.

And she says she has 20-years of published research and professional experience in the field.

She continued: “Making it tougher for licensees to open late at night sends the wrong message to potential investors and will scare them away.”

The singer and songwriter, who has examined music’s effects on behaviour since mid 1990, lamented over the lack of late night venues.

And Cllr Susie Govett who herself sits on the licensing panel echoed the doctor’s concerns, adding the town centre needs a new high street nightclub.

She said: “We need to look towards the future, and when you look at the failing retail economy on the High Street new avenues need exploring.

“Yes I believe Folkestone could do with a decent new nightclub, all that’s left is Jolsons Party Bar.

“The High Street would be the perfect place for it, it would help investment into the area, Folkestone has the potential to be an exciting town in the future.”

Noisey late night patrons in residential areas have helped fuel the license review, according to council documents.

“Often (the pubs/clubs) are located within more historic parts of the town, within the Leas and Bayle conservation area whereby properties have single glazing and close interaction with the street,” the council’s draft report says.

But those living in town centres who don’t like noise should “move somewhere a bit quieter” Cllr Govett added.

“Good and busy town centres late at night can be noisey places, it’s to be expected, if people don’t like it they can move somewhere a bit quieter.”

Cllr Susie Govett
Cllr Susie Govett

District Cllr Russell Tillson, chairman of the licensing sub-committee, said: “This is not a ‘blanket ban’ on opening after 11.30pm.

“It is just proposing that if anyone wants to open their bar, pub, or club after that time they need to be able to demonstrate that they have measures in place to address noise, disturbance and any other anti-social behaviour that late-night opening may bring.

“Every application is judged on its merits in the context of the four statutory licensing objectives.”

A council spokesman added: “Anyone wishing to either apply for or vary their premises licence to open beyond 11.30pm will have to attend a hearing where they will have to convince the members of the Licensing Sub-Committee that they have robust procedures in place to comply with the four licensing objectives:

“(They include) prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance, public safety, protection of children from harm.”

Cllr Russell Tillson
Cllr Russell Tillson

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