A leading Brighton lesbian and gay nightclub unexpectedly won permission for a smoking terrace last night after intervention from a Green councillor on the council’s planning committee.
Green councillor Amy Kennedy argued for the safety of LGBT smokers who, since the smoking ban, have had to light up on the pavement.
Councillors from all three parties on the committee, Green, Labour and Conservative, voted in support.
Gay smokers have been the target of homophobic abuse from passers-by in cars and on foot and have had objects hurled at them as they smoked outside the club.
The decision by Brighton and Hove City Council to allow a roof terrace for Club Revenge on Old Steine was taken despite 18 letters of objection from local residents who were worried about noise and a recommendation for refusal from council officers who said the terrace contravened conservation laws.
Sussex Police recently reported an increase in the number of homophobic attacks since the smoking ban was introduced in July.
Councillor Kennedy persuaded a cross party group of councillors to override the officer recommendations for refusal.
“Safety within the lesbian, gay, bi and transsexual community has to be treated with the utmost seriousness,” she said.
“We cannot allow people to be put at risk over concerns about building design.”
Revenge occupies the first and second floors of a building opposite the Palace Pier and on the corner of the Old Steine.
The club will build a staircase to the roof, a wooden terrace and acoustically designed curved shelters to minimise noise for nearby residents.
The council’s planning committee voted seven to four in favour of the plans and overriding the officer objection.
A petition signed by nearly 1,300 people in support of the proposed roof terrace smoking area was received by planning officers.