Yesterday there arrived here a circular letter from the Lib Dem councillor for the Ward, Paula Vickers, with news that a Licensing application has been lodged with the City Council to reopen what used to be The Farmhouse restaurant – currently to let – at the lower end of the street. The Bing (as the new business is to be called) will be a ‘sex entertainment venue’.
Needless to say many residents of Dover Street are up in arms. I am not a resident, but I have written to the Licensing Committee with an objection in the following terms:
Dear Committee members
I wish to register my personal objection to the granting of this licence.
The building until lately known as The Farmhouse is a prominent two-storey detached property with a forecourt for parking. It dominates the lower stretch of Dover Street on the right hand side past the Flying Horse and Lanna restaurant. If its unity is retained, it is physically one of the largest and most prominent business properties in Dover Street.
In order for business there to succeed the operator would need to use its occupancy to the full and become a prominent presence. This it appears “The Bing” recognises in making its application for a 7 -day per week licence from 8pm into the early hours.
But this bid for what appears to me a large-scale operation is at odds with the discreet and intimate character of sex entertainment, and particularly in a city as small and character-conscious as Canterbury.
In order to establish itself commercially The Bing would have to publicise its presence vigorously from the launch, and this may lead unintentionally to a ‘stigmatizing’ of Dover Street for other less controversial businesses.
I declare my interest as I run a Tuition business in Dover Street, and cater to families with children of school age who come in from the greater Canterbury district. Clearly an education business is not very compatible with a nearby adult entertainment outlet (even if hours of business would not overlap).
However, it is not so much the nature as the scale of the proposal to which I object. Dover Street has been for many years, and is at present, a harmonious small-business environment; and this character could be jeopardised and commercially compromised, by the arrival of a high-profile supplier of controversial entertainment.
The matter will be decided after 7 April. I expect there will be lots more about it in the local media.
May the application not succeed.