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Nightclub’s closure puts bar future ‘under threat’
A WITNEY bar may shut after the closure of the town’s only nightclub left it like a “ghost town”.
Mark Wates, owner of Nortons in Langdale Gate, said trade had fallen since iZi’s closed in September.
Nightclub bosses blamed increased competition and soaring rates.
Mr Wates’ fears come as plans were unveiled to turn the closed nightclub into a family restaurant.
He said: “If things do not pick back up then I really don’t think we have a choice.”
Daughter Tilly Wates, manager for the last four years, said: “Witney has been a ghost town since iZi’s closed. It was a massive change and got a lot quieter.
“I think people think there is nothing going on in Witney any more so they just go elsewhere.”
She said revellers are now heading to Oxford for a night out instead of Witney.
Restaurant firm Loungers has applied for a premises licence from West Oxfordshire District Council to open at the former iZi’s.
Further planning permission for a £500,000 renovation is to be sought for a planned summer opening.
She said: “That would really benefit Witney and give more variety for people when they go out. Hopefully it will make the town busier and bring more people out to Witney.”
Damian McClure, owner of Damo’s Taxis in Witney, said visitors to the town had fallen. He said: “The closure of iZi’s has affected the nightime economy of Witney which is a shame as there is a massive young generation.
“It would be a great shame if Nortons shut as it would kill my Thursday night business.
“We are normally very busy as the people from the RAF Brize Norton base flock to the ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ night there.”
Bulent Melgil, manager of USA Fried Chicken and Pizza in Corn Street, said: “It has not been good for fast food shops. It was busy before but now it’s very quiet. If it carries on as it is, I might have to close next year too.”
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