An aversion to casinos and sex shops makes Chichester ‘boring’, a councillor has claimed.
Chichester South councillor Len Macey criticised the district council’s licensing policies, which set the preferred number of such establishments at zero.
Under guidelines debated by the council’s licensing committee last Wednesday, applications for casinos will be ‘resisted’, while the appropriate number of adult entertainment venues is set at ‘nil’.
But despite this, council officers stressed the policies did not represent a blanket ban.
Mr Macey said: “This is just another example of Chichester. I just use one word. Boring!”
The authority has received no applications for a casino in recent years – though the council’s policy suggests any interest would be returned with a notice of the council’s stance.
Mr Macey said a casino would improve the city centre, while he would be open to an adult entertainment venue if there was demand for one.
Speaking after the meeting, he said: “My main issue was the fact you are not even allowed to apply for a casino. Are we in Chichester or are we in Russia?
“Town centres are becoming entertainment centres. Things are moving on.”
Chairman John Ridd said Mr Macey’s comments had been noted – and he hoped any applications would receive a sensible response, not just a firm ‘no’.
Licensing manager Laurence Foord said just one discussion had taken place over an adult entertainment licence in five years – though the shop proposal never came to fruition.
He added the policies gave the council a base for discussing such issues, allowing it to retain control.
Current Chichester mayor and Chichester North councillor Peter Budge reacted defiantly to Mr Macey’s ‘boring’ comment.
He said: “It’s not boring at all. I think we are a pocket battleship of a city, boxing above our weight in all ways.”
Mr Macey said the city was not even ‘in the ring’ when it came to young people.
The committee reaffirmed the policies, with Mr Macey abstaining. They will go out for statutory public consultation before discussion by full council.