Plans to extend The Forge
Update: The Forge licensing appeal hearing was held on the 10th, 11th and
14th June 2021. We understand the decision has been delayed due to the
hearing over running to 24th August 2021.
The Forge, located at 1 Sea Wall, Whitstable CT51BX, sells food and has an alcohol licence for the supply of alcohol on the premises. It is owned by Whitstable Oyster Company Ltd.
On 25 th August 2020 Canterbury City Council Licensing Committee refused a licensing application from Whitstable Oyster Company Ltd. Documents for the 25th of August 2020 Licensing application can be viewed here:
Whitstable Oyster Company Ltd were requesting permission to expand its operations from its current footprint to include a 120-seat seating area on Whitstable beach. The application was refused unanimously on all four licensing grounds.
Whitstable Oyster Company Ltd have appealed the decision, and the appeal hearing is due to be held on the 10th, 11th & 14th June 2021 at Folkestone Magistrates Court. We are requesting that due to the current pandemic and the distance to Folkestone, that the hearing is also available online.
See below how you can support this campaign.
Why we are supporting Canterbury City Council’s refusal of the licence application:
- The beach, privately owned but maintained with public funding, is vital to the community as a much-loved open space which should be protected for safe use by everyone. The licensing application amounts to commercialisation of the beach and loss of public space.
- The application seeks to enlarge the seating area of the Forge by creating a new exclusive seating area fenced off for 120 customers on the beach. The increase in scale of operations and the fact that the business will now straddle one of the busiest stretches of sea wall footpath will exacerbate the congestion. The Forge creates queues on the footpath by serving customers over the sea wall, an activity that is in breach of the premises current planning conditions.
- The proposed seating area will create a focus for anti-social activity. Drinking and drug use is a perennial problem on Whitstable beach that has increased in recent years. In June 2020 a Dispersal Order was issued for the beach as a measure to crack down on anti- social behaviour.
- Extension of The Forge operation will increase littering, already a significant issue, and noise in this residential area.
- The Forge is also located at the intersection of the Coastal Path and Public Right of Way CWX28 that allows public access from the road at Sea Wall onto the beach without steps or obstruction, important for those with reduced mobility or pushchairs. The Forge already exacerbates congestion at this point.
- Extension of the operation will have a negative impact on tourism. The walk along the sea wall footpath to enjoy the beach and spectacular views are a primary reason to visit the town. Further congestion will negatively impact on that enjoyment.
- Whitstable Oyster Company Ltd has shown previous mismanagement of similar operations at various times, most recently showing poor judgement in opening its outlets during the COVID-19 emergency and generating strong adverse criticism in the press and national TV.
- Separate to the Licensing Application, Whitstable Oyster Company Limited will also require Planning Permission, which would normally be required prior to the Licensing Application.
For more detail, please see our original objection letter to Canterbury City Council here
The opportunity to submit further objections has now closed.