Residents sound off about music venue's extra hours bid

Ed Chipperfield, right, with son, Jasper, and other opponents of the O2 Academy’s plans

Ed Chipperfield, right, with son, Jasper, and other opponents of the O2 Academy’s plans

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by

PLANS to extend opening hours at Oxford’s leading music venue have sparked a backlash among residents.

Managers at the O2 Academy, in Cowley Road, have applied to open the venue an hour earlier every day and stay open until midnight on Sundays – an hour longer than at present. They also want to stay open until 4am on the Sundays before bank holidays.

The plans have prompted 46 letters of objection from neighbours who fear the extension could mean people will be drinking for an hour longer, which they say could increase antisocial behaviour.

Ed Chipperfield, spokesman for the East Oxford Residents’ Associations, said: “There is a feeling that not only is the venue asking for too much, but that what it already has should be taken away.”

The changes would mean the venue would stay open from 6pm to 2am from Monday to Thursday, 6pm to 4am on Fridays and Saturdays and from noon to midnight on Sundays.

It would also mean it could stay open until 4am on Sundays before bank holidays, and until 6am for May Morning revellers on April 30.

Mr Chipperfield said residents were particularly concerned about the venue’s Fuzzy Ducks student nights on Wednesdays.

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He added: “Our major issue with the Academy is with the Fuzzy Ducks night. We have no problems with the gigs, and other events like that, but Fuzzy Ducks is another creature entirely.”

He said residents had visited the club night on a Wednesday evening and had seen “mayhem” on the streets.

He said: “People were jumping in front of buses, kicking bins over and climbing up lampposts. And this is every Wednesday.

“We don’t think the O2 Academy should be granted anything until it sorts these problems out.”

The application, which was submitted to the council as an alteration to its planning permission, has been called in by city councillors.

It will be discussed at an upcoming meeting on a date yet to be set.

Magdalen Road resident Nick Hewitt said: “I, along with my neighbours, some of whom are extremely respectful students, am already frequently disturbed at night by people coming back in the early hours of the morning, making a lot of noise. To allow a further extension of these opening hours can only make matters worse for residents and must not be allowed to go ahead.”

Kathy Barber, from Aston Street, said: “I believe it’s unreasonable to have a club open until 4am.”

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “I was appalled to learn of this application, which will rightly and understandably raise a storm of opposition from residents across East Oxford, who are totally sick of all the antisocial behaviour and noise they suffer from the existing Fuzzy Ducks Wednesday late night opening at the O2.”

O2 Academy spokesman Louise Kovacs said the venue was bringing its opening hours in line with other clubs in the area.

Comments (8)

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11:24am Wed 11 Apr 12

Joe Chapman says...

What's the point of opening an hour earlier? Especially with bands on - I've been to band nights where the first band plays to the bar staff. Making opening times earlier is highly unlikely to make gig goers go to gigs earlier and putting another band on when there are already often too many playing on a single night wouldn't make sense either.

As a musician I'd like to support local music (which is why I don't think this venue should be lauded as being Oxford's leading music venue - that seems to be biased) but there is clearly a direct correlation between what goes on at this venue and what goes on, on the street. For example - when I last went to the Cowley Road Carnival - the O2 were serving alcohol to peopel coming in off the street who then walked back onto the street. Then the police turned up stopping other people walking down the street with alcohol and making them put it in the bin whilst ignoring what was happening at the O2. Although on that occassion it was civilised but it does seem a bit odd that this 1 venue which is owned by a major corporation with major corporations as it's strategic partners - has so much influence on what goes on.
What's the point of opening an hour earlier? Especially with bands on - I've been to band nights where the first band plays to the bar staff. Making opening times earlier is highly unlikely to make gig goers go to gigs earlier and putting another band on when there are already often too many playing on a single night wouldn't make sense either. As a musician I'd like to support local music (which is why I don't think this venue should be lauded as being Oxford's leading music venue - that seems to be biased) but there is clearly a direct correlation between what goes on at this venue and what goes on, on the street. For example - when I last went to the Cowley Road Carnival - the O2 were serving alcohol to peopel coming in off the street who then walked back onto the street. Then the police turned up stopping other people walking down the street with alcohol and making them put it in the bin whilst ignoring what was happening at the O2. Although on that occassion it was civilised but it does seem a bit odd that this 1 venue which is owned by a major corporation with major corporations as it's strategic partners - has so much influence on what goes on. Joe Chapman
  • Score: 0

12:07pm Wed 11 Apr 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

It's a bit of a daft place for a music venue anyway, in my opinion, I think that when the site off Oxpens Road is redeveloped, there should be a decent sized Theatre/Music Venue built, right next to the station, O2 could move their operations there.
The O2 academy building could then be converted to much needed, affordable apartments, it's a historical building, I'm sure loads of people would love to live there.
It's a bit of a daft place for a music venue anyway, in my opinion, I think that when the site off Oxpens Road is redeveloped, there should be a decent sized Theatre/Music Venue built, right next to the station, O2 could move their operations there. The O2 academy building could then be converted to much needed, affordable apartments, it's a historical building, I'm sure loads of people would love to live there. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 0

1:40pm Wed 11 Apr 12

sparky123456 says...

Dilligaf whilst you're right, apartments are needed. Have you seen the venue? It'd cost a packet to convert, more than a new build and i doubt anyone would get permission to demolish it. Also a music venue has been on that site for a very long time and it's a historical piece of Oxfords heritage.

I agree with Joe, opening early is stupid. I've been to gigs, they open about 7pm, nobody turns up until about 8pm, the main act usually goes on around 9-9:30pm and it closes around 11pm or reshuffles for the late night party. I don't see the late hours as a problem on the whole either. Fuzzy Ducks is the biggest cause of chaos in the area and mostly the drunken state the attendees get in happens before they arrive at the O2. What I don't understand is why doesn't Brookes host Fuzzy Ducks in it's own enormous SU?? They used to host gigs and nights but don't seem to anymore.
Dilligaf whilst you're right, apartments are needed. Have you seen the venue? It'd cost a packet to convert, more than a new build and i doubt anyone would get permission to demolish it. Also a music venue has been on that site for a very long time and it's a historical piece of Oxfords heritage. I agree with Joe, opening early is stupid. I've been to gigs, they open about 7pm, nobody turns up until about 8pm, the main act usually goes on around 9-9:30pm and it closes around 11pm or reshuffles for the late night party. I don't see the late hours as a problem on the whole either. Fuzzy Ducks is the biggest cause of chaos in the area and mostly the drunken state the attendees get in happens before they arrive at the O2. What I don't understand is why doesn't Brookes host Fuzzy Ducks in it's own enormous SU?? They used to host gigs and nights but don't seem to anymore. sparky123456
  • Score: 0

2:22pm Wed 11 Apr 12

Dilligaf2010 says...

sparky123456 wrote:
Dilligaf whilst you're right, apartments are needed. Have you seen the venue? It'd cost a packet to convert, more than a new build and i doubt anyone would get permission to demolish it. Also a music venue has been on that site for a very long time and it's a historical piece of Oxfords heritage.

I agree with Joe, opening early is stupid. I've been to gigs, they open about 7pm, nobody turns up until about 8pm, the main act usually goes on around 9-9:30pm and it closes around 11pm or reshuffles for the late night party. I don't see the late hours as a problem on the whole either. Fuzzy Ducks is the biggest cause of chaos in the area and mostly the drunken state the attendees get in happens before they arrive at the O2. What I don't understand is why doesn't Brookes host Fuzzy Ducks in it's own enormous SU?? They used to host gigs and nights but don't seem to anymore.
I wasn't suggesting the building be demolished, perish the thought, too many historical buildings have gone, merely converting the building into apartments.
I know there's been a music venue there for some time, but there are plans for a hotel on the site off Oxpens Road, I think if a large, new, theatre/music venue was built there, next to hopefully a new station, it would attract people from outside Oxford too.
Some acts choose to go to Aylesbury or High Wycombe, rather than use the New Theatre, if Oxford had a large venue, maybe we'd attract more.
I think Brookes stopped using the SU in 2010, something to do with their expansion plans, but I may be wrong.
[quote][p][bold]sparky123456[/bold] wrote: Dilligaf whilst you're right, apartments are needed. Have you seen the venue? It'd cost a packet to convert, more than a new build and i doubt anyone would get permission to demolish it. Also a music venue has been on that site for a very long time and it's a historical piece of Oxfords heritage. I agree with Joe, opening early is stupid. I've been to gigs, they open about 7pm, nobody turns up until about 8pm, the main act usually goes on around 9-9:30pm and it closes around 11pm or reshuffles for the late night party. I don't see the late hours as a problem on the whole either. Fuzzy Ducks is the biggest cause of chaos in the area and mostly the drunken state the attendees get in happens before they arrive at the O2. What I don't understand is why doesn't Brookes host Fuzzy Ducks in it's own enormous SU?? They used to host gigs and nights but don't seem to anymore.[/p][/quote]I wasn't suggesting the building be demolished, perish the thought, too many historical buildings have gone, merely converting the building into apartments. I know there's been a music venue there for some time, but there are plans for a hotel on the site off Oxpens Road, I think if a large, new, theatre/music venue was built there, next to hopefully a new station, it would attract people from outside Oxford too. Some acts choose to go to Aylesbury or High Wycombe, rather than use the New Theatre, if Oxford had a large venue, maybe we'd attract more. I think Brookes stopped using the SU in 2010, something to do with their expansion plans, but I may be wrong. Dilligaf2010
  • Score: 0

7:00pm Wed 11 Apr 12

Andrew:Oxford says...

Perhaps whenever a licensed venue opens beyond 11pm, there should be a restrictive covenant that obliges the venue to sell tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks for one hour with the house lights following the end of daily license period.

Alternatively open 24 hours...
Perhaps whenever a licensed venue opens beyond 11pm, there should be a restrictive covenant that obliges the venue to sell tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks for one hour with the house lights following the end of daily license period. Alternatively open 24 hours... Andrew:Oxford
  • Score: 0

12:07am Thu 12 Apr 12

SteveOX4 says...

It seems that the O2 don't do very much for the local music scene. They're the complete opposite to what the Zodiac was like.

And they also don't show respect for anyone wishing to use that part of Cowley Road in the evenings. Large tour buses contravene parking restrictions outside the O2 and you will frequently see a tour bus outside with a penalty notice stuck on the windscreen. Then their clientele take up the entire pavement making it practically impossible for the rest of us to walk down that part of Cowley Road at all.
It seems that the O2 don't do very much for the local music scene. They're the complete opposite to what the Zodiac was like. And they also don't show respect for anyone wishing to use that part of Cowley Road in the evenings. Large tour buses contravene parking restrictions outside the O2 and you will frequently see a tour bus outside with a penalty notice stuck on the windscreen. Then their clientele take up the entire pavement making it practically impossible for the rest of us to walk down that part of Cowley Road at all. SteveOX4
  • Score: 0

6:42pm Thu 12 Apr 12

sarahmw says...

Years ago the Zodiac offered opportunities to local bands - O2 just seem to ship in Peter Andre and large tour busses
. So the O2 is an irrelevance to a vibrant local music scene? Wish it was still the Zodiac.
Years ago the Zodiac offered opportunities to local bands - O2 just seem to ship in Peter Andre and large tour busses . So the O2 is an irrelevance to a vibrant local music scene? Wish it was still the Zodiac. sarahmw
  • Score: 0

3:40am Sat 14 Apr 12

L0RD PETER McVEY OX2 6EG says...

Andrew:Oxford wrote:
Perhaps whenever a licensed venue opens beyond 11pm, there should be a restrictive covenant that obliges the venue to sell tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks for one hour with the house lights following the end of daily license period.

Alternatively open 24 hours...
Or seeing that The Poly night on Wednesday is the real bone of contention, why not just get the Poly to kick out their drunken louts that spoil it for the local people that actually live here and contribute to our locale.
[quote][p][bold]Andrew:Oxford[/bold] wrote: Perhaps whenever a licensed venue opens beyond 11pm, there should be a restrictive covenant that obliges the venue to sell tea, coffee, soft drinks and snacks for one hour with the house lights following the end of daily license period. Alternatively open 24 hours...[/p][/quote]Or seeing that The Poly night on Wednesday is the real bone of contention, why not just get the Poly to kick out their drunken louts that spoil it for the local people that actually live here and contribute to our locale. L0RD PETER McVEY OX2 6EG
  • Score: 0

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