Plans unveiled for a new 3,500-capacity music venue in Chichester

Dominic (left) and Kieran
Dominic (left) and Kieran

Plans for a new 3,500-capacity music and dining venue in Chichester have been unveiled, with the promise of a major new jobs boost to the economy.

The venue - in the old Feather & Black premises on Terminus Road - is the brainchild of Kieran Stanley and Dominic Hawkins who have applied for planning permission from Chichester District Council.

They have already pencilled in an opening night for September 7, featuring DJ Annie Mac and Dawn’s Cabaret Club.

Bognor-based Kieran said the aim was to bring plenty of big names to Chichester. He said he was already in talks with the agent for Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall.

The aim is to open Tuesday to Sunday, closing at 3am on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with regular closing at 1am on other nights unless a special event is being planned.

“We will be creating 50 to 80 jobs,” Kieran said. “It will be the equivalent of 15 full-time jobs.”

Kieran declined to say how the plan is being funded. He also declined to give an overall cost for the project. Effectively the plan is to build a set, a room within the building.

He insisted it would meet a real need in Chichester.

“There is nothing here anymore. Chichester is falling off the map. There is just nothing for people to do. We will be doing dining with the shows. It will be a three-course freshly-prepared meal, prepared by quality chefs. It will be gourmet food, and we have backing from Heineken that will put in the bars for us.

“We have done noise tests already. We have already put a sound system in and tested it. The noise from Chichester Gate was over the level of the sound of the venue.”

The closest house is 300 metres away, Kieran said: “We anticipate that the response will be very mixed. Some people don’t want change, but this will be change for the good, with all the jobs. The planning application is in. We had to do a bit of extra paperwork, but we have officially sent it off. And we are happy to talk to anyone that is for or against it, but at the end of the day, the overall decision comes down to Chichester District Council. We have got all the plans in place to keep people safe in the area. We will even have a street team to make sure people go to the right place on arrival.”

As for parking: “We will get people to use the multi-storey, and we are going to use bus services for the larger event numbers. There are 75 parking spaces on the site.”

Kieran runs a sound and lighting company which he will wind down in order to concentrate on the proposed new venue. He insists it is the right location.

“We have got the A27 next to it. It is not within the city walls but close enough to the public transport and the car parks. It is near to the university. It will be great for the students. But we are not just appealing to students. We are appealing to everybody. We are wanting to bring West End-type shows to Chichester. We are going to go for the big celebrity names that you would want to go up to London to see.”

Kieran said it was too soon to say who exactly.

“The first idea for this was August last year, and we have been working on the paperwork for three months. We have been working with medical teams and security teams.”

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