Former nightclub could be daytime family restaurant

Oxford Mail: Former nightclub could be daytime family restaurant Former nightclub could be daytime family restaurant

THE site of former Witney nightclub iZi is set to become part of a rapidly expanding café and restaurant chain.

The company behind the Lounge outlets has applied for a new premises licence with a view to gain planning consent and open at the Market Square site by next summer.

But managing director of parent company Loungers Alex Reilley has made it clear that the operation will not be a nightclub with the licence application stating that it will not open after midnight.

Mr Reilley said: “I have been very impressed with Witney town centre. It has a real buzz about it and we are keen to be part of it.

“There will be a forthcoming planning application to renovate the front of the building as it will be very much for daytime use and family orientated.

“We would like to be in by spring or summer time.”

Up to 30 jobs could be created at the site with Mr Reilley saying that £500,000 has been set aside to renovate the building.

iZi closed down in September amid complaints of increasing competition and soaring rates.

Director Shaun Hartless said the rates on the premises had doubled to £129,000 a year while the opening of a new JD Wetherspoon pub had hit trade.

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Mr Reilley co-founded Loungers in Bristol in 2002 with friends David Reid, development director, and Jake Bishop, operations director. Despite the double dip recession, it has grown fast and now has 41 restaurants including an outlet in Banbury which opened in 2010. A further 15 are set to open in 2014.

Annual turnover has soared from £4m in 2008 to £22m in the last financial year.

Mr Reilley said he was “desperate” to get into Oxford and was currently looking at four sites in and around the city.

He said: “It is somewhere we feel we could do very well. But it is a difficult place to get into as there is a lot of demand for units.”

Comments (3)

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7:46am Sun 29 Dec 13

Sugarandcandy says...

Just what Witney needs! another restaurant to add to the 50 it already has! IZI was the best club for miles, such a shame it's closing and some boring restaurant chain will be taking over.
Just what Witney needs! another restaurant to add to the 50 it already has! IZI was the best club for miles, such a shame it's closing and some boring restaurant chain will be taking over. Sugarandcandy

5:18pm Tue 31 Dec 13

oafie says...

Oh come on .......lets have some adult only places. Not all of us appreciate the joy of other's noisy children and would like to enjoy a meal with some adult conversation without having to manage other people's children; who seem to think public restaurants/eateries
/pubs are free childcare facilities.
Oh come on .......lets have some adult only places. Not all of us appreciate the joy of other's noisy children and would like to enjoy a meal with some adult conversation without having to manage other people's children; who seem to think public restaurants/eateries /pubs are free childcare facilities. oafie

12:38pm Wed 1 Jan 14

sam_e says...

Having a nightclub kept a lot of people in the town at night. Their money would be spent in other bars and pubs before they would head to Izi late at night. Now, would be Izi customers head straight to Oxford and all the other venues in the town lose out. I rarely went to Izi myself, but I can clearly see how the lack of a late night club is affecting the town centre. Where will be the next place to close?
Having a nightclub kept a lot of people in the town at night. Their money would be spent in other bars and pubs before they would head to Izi late at night. Now, would be Izi customers head straight to Oxford and all the other venues in the town lose out. I rarely went to Izi myself, but I can clearly see how the lack of a late night club is affecting the town centre. Where will be the next place to close? sam_e

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