Hundreds are signing a petition backing late-night drinks at The Vestry

Nearly 1,000 people have signed a petition to allow The Vestry to stay open until 2am.

Tuesday, 13th March 2018, 4:31 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 12:40 am
The Vestry in Southgate could be forced to close early

The petition, which appears to have been set up by staff, calls on Chichester District Council to not force them to close doors at midnight.

Speaking to The Observer last week, management said they are ‘not going down without a fight’.

The Vestry staff Nick Marshall, Charlie Rose and Will Thompson are excited for the future

The issue stems from a planning restricton on the building which means The Vestry must close by 12am. However, in 2016 The Vestry was given licensing consent to open until 2.30am.

The problem is that a planning application needed to be submitted to bring the original restriction in line with the licensing decision. Chichester District Council said this has not happened.

The Vestry’s licence holder, Nick Marshall said: “We have got a bit of a battle on.

“Jaspar Group is intending to build flats on our party wall. They have reminded the council there is a planning restriction on our premises.”

The petition says: “Chichester’s nightlife has boomed in the last year.

“As one of the largest bars in Chichester, The Vestry has revived itself as a high energy, music driven venue enjoyed by thousands.”

“We are calling on all our local customers (and those further away!) and local businesses to show their support and help sway the decision, of a forward-looking council, that Chichester wants, and deserves, a late night, city centre venue that is here to stay.”

Developer Jaspar Group said last week: “Jaspar’s proposals would provide nine much-needed residential units, which would increase footfall for local shops and amenities.

“It has become apparent The Vestry are currently operating outside of their planning consent which only permits the venue to open until 12am.

“Jaspar is not seeking to have The Vestry closed.

“Jaspar wants to see the venue continue to contribute to the locality. However, it must operate lawfully and in line with the planning conditions placed on it.”

Note from the reporter: it very much appears that The Vestry will still need to submit an official planning application. The petition itself will likely not be sufficient to change the restriction on its own, though it could be a factor in the decision-making.