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02 Academy defends bid for longer opening hours
AN EAST Oxford music venue has responded to concerns over its plan to extend opening times, as objections from residents continue to mount.
The O2 Academy in Cowley Road has applied to open an hour earlier every day and stay open until midnight on Sundays – an hour longer than at present.
The club, formerly the Zodiac, also wants to stay open until 4am on bank holiday Sundays.
As reported in the Oxford Mail last week, some residents oppose the application and more than 60 letters of objection have been written to Oxford City Council.
Ed Chipperfield, of East Oxford Residents’ Association, said: “Our major issue with the Academy is with the Fuzzy Ducks night (for students on Wednesday). We have no problems with the gigs, and other events like that, but Fuzzy Ducks is another creature entirely.”
Academy spokesman Louise Kovacs said: “O2 Academy Oxford is already permitted to open until 4am on Fridays and Saturdays and until 2am Monday to Thursday.
“O2 Academy Oxford hosts a large proportion of live music events, some 300 per year, many of which attract various demographics and age ranges. A large proportion of shows that attract a younger audience would benefit from the additional hour of 6pm admissions rather than 7pm.
She added: “Flexibility for bank holiday trading in a prime city centre venue, gives customers and us as operators added event options, for everyone to enjoy live performances in a professional, safe environment.
“This would bring us in line with many other establishments in the city.”
She added: “General manager Joe Roberts is chairman of East Oxford Pub Watch and attends monthly meetings to share information and discuss any issues from the authorities.
“Fuzzy Ducks is a long-standing club night and has been at the site for many years, both at the Zodiac and since Academy Music Group acquired the venue in 2007. Every Wednesday, Fuzzy Ducks has up to 20 security staff present on egress for the safe dispersion of clientele.”
The venue said Mr Roberts would welcome invitations to residents’ association meetings.
Residents with any concerns were also welcome to contact him on 01865 813500 or via email to email@example.com