Regional Spotlight: Canterbury

17 June 2004
Regional Spotlight: Canterbury

With its stunning cathedral, respected university, and tourist attractions ranging from Roman ruins to the world's first museum dedicated to Rupert the Bear, there's a lot to attract visitors to Canterbury.

Daniel Thackray, a chartered surveyor at Canterbury-based property agent Caxtons, says the local commercial property market is generally very strong, but for hospitality businesses the key issue is planning.

Although there are a lot of established A3 sites elsewhere in the centre, Thackray says in the last few years the local authority has been trying to limit restaurants to the St Peter's Street area. Getting planning permission is even harder for pub and bar operators and, while Thackray says there's space for "a few more, but not significantly more" pubs in the town, profits can be elusive.

"The local authority isn't keen on having new bars in the centre and it's quite hard to get a licence," says Thackray. "We're always inundated with applicants looking to start up restaurants and bars, but once they're up and running it's not always as easy to make money as perhaps they thought."

However, there may be scope for hotel operators. Thackray says a lot of the accommodation in Canterbury is "old and tired" and there are at least three sites where the local authority is quite keen to for a hotel operator to come in and help promote Canterbury as a business centre.

"But whether there's demand for hotels and large-scale conference facilities is another matter," says Thackray, adding that Canterbury is more of a day-trip destination.

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