At Kiwi Recruitment, we have a pretty good finger on the pulse of movements affecting local Business. Which is why, upon learning of local bar The Vestry’s fight to retain their 2 am licence, we just had to back their efforts.
Last year, Chichester District Council made the decision to permit later licences for venues in the city centre. As one of the largest bars in Chichester, The Vestry has revived itself as a high energy, music-driven venue enjoyed by thousands.
A London property developer is now threatening the vibrant nightlife, hilariously affectionately coined #Chibiza. Over the last year dedicated staff at the Vestry have worked incredibly hard to create a safe, fun environment to socialise for anyone over the age of 18. This includes thoroughly trained door staff, refurbishment of the dance area and facilities. The Vestry have developed a fantastic relationship with local charity City Angels, to promote safer drinking and encourage revellers home in comfy flip flops. They also support local music talent with Open Mic Night and bring together the student community outside of the University.
Chichester is a city having suffered significant losses to nightlife, Chicago Rock, Lloyds and the big dinger, Thursdays (RIP T’s). The Vestry has filled a somewhat significant black hole and transformed Southgate, along with the refurbished Chantry, Foundry, the Fountain and Rocking Horse Cocktail Bar into a thriving nightlife scene.
Last year, businesses and residents across Chichester City were encouraged to take part in Chichester Vision, which focused on the City’s development over the next 20 years. One of the significant objectives of Vision is to improve the City’s nightlife, as shamefully we are the only University City in the Country without a nightclub. You can read more about it here.
The objectives were defined following many speculative meetings, surveys and discussions with Chichester Chamber of Commerce & Industry Members, Chichester BID and business owners and residents throughout. The one overwhelming request was for more variety for nightlife, besides eating at one of the many fine eateries our fantastic city has to offer.
At a CCCI Meeting on Monday, it was said the City has 27,000 residents – 16,000 of which are Students. Student spend last year was £36 million (they do enjoy the odd pint) and with 60% of the population being in that category – why are we at a pivotal moment where we could risk losing that valuable economy?
The Chamber’s Open Forum discussed the impact of a reduced licence at the Vestry and the response was very positively supportive, with a lot of local Businesses agreeing it would be a shame to lose the vibrant presence created in Southgate by the Team at the Vestry.
Now a London property developer has understandably been seduced by the diverse, historic and colourful culture our wonderful City has to offer. Chichester, being a high-end property market, has become a target and the developer is looking to build more town centre flats in #Chibiza. As a result, they have cited The Vestry’s late nights as having a negative impact on the profitability of their development.
Sadly, they do have an old piece of planning that could be levied to force The Vestry to close its doors at midnight, much earlier than the popular 2 am licensing currently allows.
Losing student numbers directly contradicts Chichester Vision. The University could lose funding, local businesses lose student spend and potential employees to work the unpopular shifts that are so often taken by the student community.
We cannot afford these losses in Chichester, we must unite as Businesses, Entrepreneurs, Residents, Students all driving the common goal – WE’VE GOT TO FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHT TO PARTY!
Sign the Vestry petition to Chichester District Council here to show your support.