Councilor’s call to shut down Rochester nightlife at midnight to stamp out drunken fights and rowdy behavior

A city’s nighttime economy must be curtailed to deal with the drunken revelers who indulge in rowdy and antisocial behavior.

That is the view of Cllr Stuart Tranter, who believes that while Rochester is a “leisure focus”, there should be a cut-off point around midnight.

Casino Rooms in Rochester High Street will remain open until 3am
Casino Rooms in Rochester High Street will remain open until 3am

He thinks this is only fair to the many people who live in the High Street and surrounding area and who sometimes struggle to fall asleep.

Cllr Tranter (Con), who represents Rochester West on the Medway Council, said: “We all accept that Rochester is a place where people like to drink, go to a restaurant, dance and meet friends.

“But there has to be a measure of reasonableness.

“It is not acceptable that there is fighting in the street at 2 a.m., windows and glasses smashed and that people defecate in the street.

“Rochester is a tough residential area and maybe people forget that people live there.

Cllr Stuart Tranter.  Photo: Medway Council
Cllr Stuart Tranter. Photo: Medway Council

“Yes, because they live on the High Street, they should expect some noise and rowdy behaviour. If you want peace and quiet, live in the countryside.

“But that doesn’t mean they have to tolerate anything. Everyone has the right to a night’s sleep at some point.

“The longer people have to drink, the more intoxicated they become.”

He believes that locations that stay open after midnight are better suited to out-of-town areas.

His comments have puzzled some High Street permit holders who don’t believe closing the city at midnight is the solution.

“It might be an idea to have more police around when the club closes.”

Sandra Judge, who runs the Eagle Tavern, said: “If everywhere were closed at 12 noon there would be a mass exodus and that would be asking for trouble.

“If they can’t go to places like the Casino, they’ll look elsewhere, and that could mean driving people out of Rochester, which we obviously don’t want.”

Mrs Judge, who has been in the pub for 15 years, said: “We have gone back to pub grub and have stopped doing our live music.

“We’re trying to be somewhere different, a place where people can quietly have a drink and socialize.

“Our customers are not the type that goes to the casino or elsewhere.

The Golden Lion Wetherspoon in Rochester High Street stays open until 1am on weekends.  Photo: Steve Crispe
The Golden Lion Wetherspoon in Rochester High Street stays open until 1am on weekends. Photo: Steve Crispe

“We can close at 1am, but we choose to close at 12am.

“It might be an idea to have more police around when the club closes.”

Another landlord, who declined to be named, added: “I don’t know what the answer is.

“We don’t serve anyone who is drunk.

“We have last orders at 10:50am, call at 11am and try to get everyone out by 11:30am and we don’t get any problems.”

The Eagle Tavern in Rochester High Street
The Eagle Tavern in Rochester High Street

Fellow councilor Alex Paterson (Lab) said, “Rochester is a living community, not a museum.

“Those licensed here should do so in an appropriate, considerate manner and be held accountable if they fail to meet those standards.

“But I am wary of politicians who want to impose their own narrow view of pleasure on others.

“Our High Street should be for everyone – from those who want to visit shops, restaurants and heritage attractions during the day, to those who prefer a night out that lasts until the early hours.

“Most parts of continental Europe and many British cities have nighttime economies that extend much later than Rochester’s, without descending into the kind of violent and antisocial behavior often seen here.

Cllr Alex Paterson
Cllr Alex Paterson

“Instead of advocating for the use of blunt tools like scrapping all late licenses and stifling our cultural lives, we need to focus on how we change that behavior to make Rochester a safe place for everyone to enjoy.” enjoy – always.”

Currently, the Casino Rooms, in Blue Boar Lane, which considers itself Kent’s largest nightclub, closes at 3am at the latest.

The City Wall Wine Bar in the High Street closes at 2am on weekends.

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