Residents remain unimpressed with nightclub proposal

PLANS to turn Sidcup's former cinema into a nightclub came a step closer as the potential owner met residents to discuss his plans.

But even after hearing of Stephen Webb's plans to pay two police officers overtime to help keep problems to a minimum, a show of hands revealed overwhelming opposition to the nightclub idea.

The former cinema, which has an ownership clause forbidding its reuse as a cinema, already has established use as an entertainment venue, including a nightclub.

But any plans to open it as a club would need both a public entertainment licence and a drinks licence, which local people, Bexley Council and the police are likely to oppose.

Mr Webb, whose company runs two clubs in Essex, told last week's meeting that if he opened a club, it would cater for around 1,500 people and open for up to four nights a week.

His plans also include a minicab firm based in the car park at the back of the cinema to take clubbers home, the provision of extra CCTV cameras in the town and the promise to clean up and pay for any damage caused by clubbers in the town centre.

But local people say the club would be too big for Sidcup to cope with and is in the wrong location.

Jean Gee from Manorhouse Residents' Association, who was at the meeting, said Sidcup High Street was relatively narrow and most shops had people living above. She also pointed out that all the streets off the High Street are residential.

She said people would be disturbed into the early hours by hundreds of people leaving the club or parking their cars in residential streets.

If Mr Webb pursues his plans, the club would open from 9pm to 2am, catering for 18 to 40-year-olds and would feature live acts as a well as DJs. He also intends to give vouchers to local pubs entitling people to get into the club at half price after 11pm.

A show of hands at the meeting showed four in favour, 15 against and four abstentions.

"What the town centre needs is a family recreation facility which would bring people into Sidcup and benefit the shopkeepers as well as providing something to keep youngsters off the streets," said Mrs Gee.