Nightclub’s closure puts bar future ‘under threat’

Oxford Mail: CONCERN: Nortons manager Tilly Wates is worried that the bar might close if trade doesn’t pick up in the new year CONCERN: Nortons manager Tilly Wates is worried that the bar might close if trade doesn’t pick up in the new year

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.”

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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.”

Comments (17)

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6:52pm Fri 3 Jan 14

faatmaan says...

is this also wetherspoons fault ? no business has the a right to business, people vote with their feet, along with many other licensed trade businesses, they are still trying to come to terms with drinkers move away from pubs to the home bar.
is this also wetherspoons fault ? no business has the a right to business, people vote with their feet, along with many other licensed trade businesses, they are still trying to come to terms with drinkers move away from pubs to the home bar. faatmaan
  • Score: -88

4:53pm Sat 4 Jan 14

dave from witney says...

No one seems to mention the problems that Izi's caused.
No one seems to mention the problems that Izi's caused. dave from witney
  • Score: -79

10:02pm Sun 5 Jan 14

the wizard says...

The young people in Witney have been dealt several blows over the last couple of years or so. Firstly The Palace closed and then IZI.
IZI may have had its problems but not significantly so, probably less than many late night drinking bars elsewhere. It is when the younger generation have now where to go that they get led astray by the wrong type as they are not under the watch of their close and real friends as they would be in their home town.

Taxi's and eateries are all now affected as the knock-on grows pace. Its a bit sad when a town like Witney cannot provide wholesome entertainment establishments for the younger generations.
The young people in Witney have been dealt several blows over the last couple of years or so. Firstly The Palace closed and then IZI. IZI may have had its problems but not significantly so, probably less than many late night drinking bars elsewhere. It is when the younger generation have now where to go that they get led astray by the wrong type as they are not under the watch of their close and real friends as they would be in their home town. Taxi's and eateries are all now affected as the knock-on grows pace. Its a bit sad when a town like Witney cannot provide wholesome entertainment establishments for the younger generations. the wizard
  • Score: -49

12:35am Mon 6 Jan 14

Gasman38 says...

If the owners gave the place a 'facelift' to attract more people instead of lining their pockets that would sort it. Nortons,The red Lion have looked the same for years they're totally 'out dated'! People don't like sticky carpets, busted toilets. Get with the times!
If the owners gave the place a 'facelift' to attract more people instead of lining their pockets that would sort it. Nortons,The red Lion have looked the same for years they're totally 'out dated'! People don't like sticky carpets, busted toilets. Get with the times! Gasman38
  • Score: -42

2:55pm Mon 6 Jan 14

Schnizzle says...

It can't necessarily be levelled at Wetherspoon's only (as the poster above says, no one has a right to the business), but speaking to lots of people in the town it's a key factor. Witney thrives through independence. In the daytime that's provided by independent shops and cafes - under threat from the influx of chain stores/awful coffee shops - and in the evening the many great ubs and places to eat. We never needed a Wetherspoon's in the first place (we are not short of pubs) and comments like 'people vote with their feet' based on Wetherspoon's being the cheapest suggests people only want 'cheap' rather than 'value', otherwise it's just a race to the bottom.

The continuing problem is made worse by Cafe Nero, Starbucks, Pizza Express and so on throwing their massive commercial might into undercutting good businesses that satisfy the need of the community. I'd welcome reasoning from the WODC as to why this seems to be the push - why are we turning into a generic Anytown rather than helping/advising/enc
ouraging interesting, exciting, modern trade on the High Street and Corn Street?
It can't necessarily be levelled at Wetherspoon's only (as the poster above says, no one has a right to the business), but speaking to lots of people in the town it's a key factor. Witney thrives through independence. In the daytime that's provided by independent shops and cafes - under threat from the influx of chain stores/awful coffee shops - and in the evening the many great ubs and places to eat. We never needed a Wetherspoon's in the first place (we are not short of pubs) and comments like 'people vote with their feet' based on Wetherspoon's being the cheapest suggests people only want 'cheap' rather than 'value', otherwise it's just a race to the bottom. The continuing problem is made worse by Cafe Nero, Starbucks, Pizza Express and so on throwing their massive commercial might into undercutting good businesses that satisfy the need of the community. I'd welcome reasoning from the WODC as to why this seems to be the push - why are we turning into a generic Anytown rather than helping/advising/enc ouraging interesting, exciting, modern trade on the High Street and Corn Street? Schnizzle
  • Score: -31

10:49am Tue 7 Jan 14

hpauling says...

I am one of the partners of the Red lion. as for the comment made by gasman 38. face life that would involve having the money to do this. however if you actually drank in our pub you would see that a refurbishment is taking place slowly as costs allow with an increase in business rates, beer price increases from the brewery among many factors that effect the money flow. also the lack of footfall in Witney due to the council turning the town into a non music venue town by hammering down on businesses for noise etc...this is also effecting the way the pub looks. I would like to know why the council are doing nothing to help the local businesses. I think people shouldn't slander a premises without knowing all the facts and until you've run a pub I don't believe you can judge however we will continue to do the best we can refurb over the time we are here and continuing to offer the entertainment that people want and run the business to best of our ability just like everyone else does in the town. thanks.
I am one of the partners of the Red lion. as for the comment made by gasman 38. face life that would involve having the money to do this. however if you actually drank in our pub you would see that a refurbishment is taking place slowly as costs allow with an increase in business rates, beer price increases from the brewery among many factors that effect the money flow. also the lack of footfall in Witney due to the council turning the town into a non music venue town by hammering down on businesses for noise etc...this is also effecting the way the pub looks. I would like to know why the council are doing nothing to help the local businesses. I think people shouldn't slander a premises without knowing all the facts and until you've run a pub I don't believe you can judge however we will continue to do the best we can refurb over the time we are here and continuing to offer the entertainment that people want and run the business to best of our ability just like everyone else does in the town. thanks. hpauling
  • Score: 0

10:58am Tue 7 Jan 14

King Joke says...

I sympathise totally with hpauling. I'm sure he or she would do their pub up nicely if they could afford it. From what they say it strikes me that the town is run by an older generation who are happy with shops and restaurants but are not interested in evening entertainment for younger people, who as a result are being driven away to Oxford. This is very sad. Fancy a town Witney's size having no music venues!
I sympathise totally with hpauling. I'm sure he or she would do their pub up nicely if they could afford it. From what they say it strikes me that the town is run by an older generation who are happy with shops and restaurants but are not interested in evening entertainment for younger people, who as a result are being driven away to Oxford. This is very sad. Fancy a town Witney's size having no music venues! King Joke
  • Score: 0

7:21pm Tue 7 Jan 14

TillyWates says...

Gasman38 wrote:
If the owners gave the place a 'facelift' to attract more people instead of lining their pockets that would sort it. Nortons,The red Lion have looked the same for years they're totally 'out dated'! People don't like sticky carpets, busted toilets. Get with the times!
As for the refurbishment we have currently had our toilets refurbished, painted the whole venue, new flooring (no sticky carpets to be seen, we have nice tiled flooring), and we are constantly cleaning this place. As for your comment about "lining our pockets" is obviously incorrect due to the content of this story. People like you slating our bar with incorrect facts are completely unnecessary.
[quote][p][bold]Gasman38[/bold] wrote: If the owners gave the place a 'facelift' to attract more people instead of lining their pockets that would sort it. Nortons,The red Lion have looked the same for years they're totally 'out dated'! People don't like sticky carpets, busted toilets. Get with the times![/p][/quote]As for the refurbishment we have currently had our toilets refurbished, painted the whole venue, new flooring (no sticky carpets to be seen, we have nice tiled flooring), and we are constantly cleaning this place. As for your comment about "lining our pockets" is obviously incorrect due to the content of this story. People like you slating our bar with incorrect facts are completely unnecessary. TillyWates
  • Score: 2

7:21pm Tue 7 Jan 14

TillyWates says...

Gasman38 wrote:
If the owners gave the place a 'facelift' to attract more people instead of lining their pockets that would sort it. Nortons,The red Lion have looked the same for years they're totally 'out dated'! People don't like sticky carpets, busted toilets. Get with the times!
As for the refurbishment we have currently had our toilets refurbished, painted the whole venue, new flooring (no sticky carpets to be seen, we have nice tiled flooring), and we are constantly cleaning this place. As for your comment about "lining our pockets" is obviously incorrect due to the content of this story. People like you slating our bar with incorrect facts are completely unnecessary.
[quote][p][bold]Gasman38[/bold] wrote: If the owners gave the place a 'facelift' to attract more people instead of lining their pockets that would sort it. Nortons,The red Lion have looked the same for years they're totally 'out dated'! People don't like sticky carpets, busted toilets. Get with the times![/p][/quote]As for the refurbishment we have currently had our toilets refurbished, painted the whole venue, new flooring (no sticky carpets to be seen, we have nice tiled flooring), and we are constantly cleaning this place. As for your comment about "lining our pockets" is obviously incorrect due to the content of this story. People like you slating our bar with incorrect facts are completely unnecessary. TillyWates
  • Score: 0

10:11pm Wed 8 Jan 14

WitneyGreen says...

King Joke wrote:
I sympathise totally with hpauling. I'm sure he or she would do their pub up nicely if they could afford it. From what they say it strikes me that the town is run by an older generation who are happy with shops and restaurants but are not interested in evening entertainment for younger people, who as a result are being driven away to Oxford. This is very sad. Fancy a town Witney's size having no music venues!
I think the fact that Witney has the fantastic Fat Lil's, which is packed pretty much every night, makes your comment about Witney having 'no music venues' pretty redundant.
[quote][p][bold]King Joke[/bold] wrote: I sympathise totally with hpauling. I'm sure he or she would do their pub up nicely if they could afford it. From what they say it strikes me that the town is run by an older generation who are happy with shops and restaurants but are not interested in evening entertainment for younger people, who as a result are being driven away to Oxford. This is very sad. Fancy a town Witney's size having no music venues![/p][/quote]I think the fact that Witney has the fantastic Fat Lil's, which is packed pretty much every night, makes your comment about Witney having 'no music venues' pretty redundant. WitneyGreen
  • Score: 1

10:12pm Wed 8 Jan 14

WitneyGreen says...

TillyWates wrote:
Gasman38 wrote:
If the owners gave the place a 'facelift' to attract more people instead of lining their pockets that would sort it. Nortons,The red Lion have looked the same for years they're totally 'out dated'! People don't like sticky carpets, busted toilets. Get with the times!
As for the refurbishment we have currently had our toilets refurbished, painted the whole venue, new flooring (no sticky carpets to be seen, we have nice tiled flooring), and we are constantly cleaning this place. As for your comment about "lining our pockets" is obviously incorrect due to the content of this story. People like you slating our bar with incorrect facts are completely unnecessary.
Thing is Tilly, you can clean it all you like, but it's still a bit of a dump.
[quote][p][bold]TillyWates[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Gasman38[/bold] wrote: If the owners gave the place a 'facelift' to attract more people instead of lining their pockets that would sort it. Nortons,The red Lion have looked the same for years they're totally 'out dated'! People don't like sticky carpets, busted toilets. Get with the times![/p][/quote]As for the refurbishment we have currently had our toilets refurbished, painted the whole venue, new flooring (no sticky carpets to be seen, we have nice tiled flooring), and we are constantly cleaning this place. As for your comment about "lining our pockets" is obviously incorrect due to the content of this story. People like you slating our bar with incorrect facts are completely unnecessary.[/p][/quote]Thing is Tilly, you can clean it all you like, but it's still a bit of a dump. WitneyGreen
  • Score: 2

8:36am Thu 9 Jan 14

King Joke says...

So why did H Pauling say there weren't any?
So why did H Pauling say there weren't any? King Joke
  • Score: 0

6:58pm Fri 24 Jan 14

shitneylad says...

Less c***s out in town then, great news!
Less c***s out in town then, great news! shitneylad
  • Score: 1

7:00pm Fri 24 Jan 14

shitneylad says...

I'd much rather the pubs in the area thrived, bar Weatherspoons as it attracts the majority of the d***k heads into it now that **** hole Izis has thankfully left town
I'd much rather the pubs in the area thrived, bar Weatherspoons as it attracts the majority of the d***k heads into it now that **** hole Izis has thankfully left town shitneylad
  • Score: 1

9:45pm Sat 25 Jan 14

Muckaway says...

All of Witneys' pubs go through a rough phase. Not long ago the Red Lion was a great place, and I'dve bet money on the Cross Keys closing. The Chequers was a sewer of a place but now looks rather nice, and the Eagle Vaults pub grub has massively improved. The Red Lion will be back, amazed how the New Inn is still going but fair play to the staff as it's still going.
Current favourite has to be the Eagle Tavern for beer and The Rowing Machine for value family food.
All of Witneys' pubs go through a rough phase. Not long ago the Red Lion was a great place, and I'dve bet money on the Cross Keys closing. The Chequers was a sewer of a place but now looks rather nice, and the Eagle Vaults pub grub has massively improved. The Red Lion will be back, amazed how the New Inn is still going but fair play to the staff as it's still going. Current favourite has to be the Eagle Tavern for beer and The Rowing Machine for value family food. Muckaway
  • Score: 1

9:54pm Sun 26 Jan 14

John Witney says...

Not one word mentioned in any of the posts regarding the massive inexcusable hike in council rates. Lets all be honest, the mindset of the local council is that these formally popular night time venues were making vast amounts of money and that they could be easily " shaken ' down. Typical bureaucratic thinking without considering long term ramifications.
Not one word mentioned in any of the posts regarding the massive inexcusable hike in council rates. Lets all be honest, the mindset of the local council is that these formally popular night time venues were making vast amounts of money and that they could be easily " shaken ' down. Typical bureaucratic thinking without considering long term ramifications. John Witney
  • Score: 4

8:51pm Mon 27 Jan 14

Muckaway says...

USA Fried Chicken. Better known as "Chuck Out Chicken" or "The Place Where Most Fights Start in Witney."
USA Fried Chicken. Better known as "Chuck Out Chicken" or "The Place Where Most Fights Start in Witney." Muckaway
  • Score: 0

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