Whitstable campaigner says Canterbury is "not gay enough"
CANTERBURY is "not gay enough," claims a gay rights group.
Pride in Canterbury has slammed the city council for not helping to promote the pink community.
Martin Lammas and Andrew Bettell
Chairman Andrew Brettell of Pier Avenue, Tankerton, Whitstable, wrote to the council in November but after claiming he had received no reply lodged a formal complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman.
Mr Brettell, in his 60s, said "The impression I get is that the council just doesn't want to know.
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"I get the feeling it is precious because Canterbury has a cathedral and history.
"I think they think the gay community will turn it into Sodom and Gomorrah."
Mr Brettell organised the first Pride in Canterbury gay festival in 2005 but claims the council failed to support it.
The former actor Mr Brettell, who lives with his 48-year-old accountant partner Martin Lammas, said: "We had a good response but ended up with lots of people from outside the area."
He has also called for a drop-in centre for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual community and a dedicated gay bar.
But city council chief executive Colin Carmichael said: "The council strongly refutes any suggestion by Pride in Canterbury that we do not want to engage with the LGBT community. We are very disappointed they referred this to the ombudsman.
"The council has provided Pride in Canterbury with funding of more than £4,000 since 2005 through our grants system to help them identify the needs of the LGBT community and promote their concerns."
Mr Carmichael added: "Last year we held a gay open day at the council offices, which was widely advertised including in the gay press. It was well attended by more than 40 people and received very good feedback from those present.
"We believe that through regular correspondence with Pride in Canterbury over many years we have thoroughly addressed their concerns and shown ourselves to be a council that has taken action to address the needs and priorities of the LGBT community."
A council spokesman added: "It is not the council's job to go round opening bars for gays or heterosexuals. It is not the type of thing council tax-payers expect us to do."
City resident Jim Jones said: "I see no reason why any bar or club in the country has to be called a gay bar. It's a bar. So what if you're gay, you still sit and drink like everyone else.
"I think gay people make too much out of being gay and should just accept it and not want special treatment."
Tourist attraction Canterbury Tales said Pride members can visit the St Margaret's Street venue for half price and lap-dancing club Scribes in King Street is to reopen on Friday June 5 as gay bar CO2.