Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Thursday, 25 June 2009 13:46 UK

Canterbury 'not gay unfriendly'

Canterbury Cathedral
The city said it would continue to work closely with the LGBT community

The cathedral city of Canterbury has been cleared over complaints it was unwelcoming to gay people.

Canterbury Pride claimed the city did not promote lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) culture.

The Local Government Ombudsman said an investigation had found no grounds for Pride's claims, adding the organisation had been given funding by the council.

"We have always refuted suggestions the council doesn't engage with the LGBT community," the Kent council said.

Canterbury Pride had complained Canterbury was a "cultural wilderness" and one of few cities in England without any gay bars.

It called for the council to fund a community drop-in centre for the LGBT community and to make more reference to gay people in its culture.

'Dealt with issues'

The Ombudsman, Christine Kane, said as well as providing funding for Canterbury Pride in the past, the council had also invited suggestions for other events it could help finance.

With regard to allegations the council had failed to respond to a letter of complaint by the organisation, Ms Kane said an apology had been made for failing to respond to one complaint.

But she went on to say many of the issues mentioned by Pride in Canterbury had been dealt with previously.

"I see no reason, therefore, for the council to keep revisiting complaints that have been properly considered simply because you are unhappy with the outcome," said Ms Kane.

The council's chief executive Colin Carmichael said it was delighted with the outcome.

"We hope that the Ombudsman's conclusion draws a line under this particular episode," he said.

"We will, however, continue to work closely with the local LGBT community in identifying particular needs and concerns and offering help whenever possible."

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