MUSIC lovers and nightclub-goers have vowed to fight plans to close one of Oxford's most iconic venues.

An online petition has more than 5,000 signatures less than a day after the Oxford Mail broke the story about the club's possible closure.

The Cellar has played host to hundred of up and coming bands, including big names Supergrass, Foals and Stornoway, but the famous underground independent club has now been given its notice.

The basement venue off Cornmarket Street could close in early 2018 when the retailer Lush, due to move into the Westgate centre, vacates its city centre shop above.

Owners St Michael's and All Saints' Charities want to convert the basement into to give potential tenants a larger shop space.

The club's owner Tim Hopkins said it was 'devastating' but its solicitors were exploring how the venue could fight the decision and stay open.

He said: "This is devastating news, not just for The Cellar team, but for the Oxford music scene as a whole, and represents the continued erosion of independent music venues by big business.

"We are consulting a solicitor to see what our options are and will keep people posted on any developments.

He added: "We appreciate the ongoing support."

Music lovers and fans of the famous venue rallied yesterday calling for it to be saved.

James Cunning, from the band We Aeronauts, signed and said: "This venue is so important for promoters, bands old and young alike, and the many culturally and musically diverse club nights it hosts.

"It's also one of the only places in Oxford you could go to on any night of the week and see or hear something genuinely interesting."

Another Cellar regular, Alexander Hinkson, said: "The Cellar is one of the only spaces playing independent music for people interested in more than profit-driven commercial 'clubbing' experiences.

"Losing this would be a blow for Oxford's music scene as The Cellar is a genuinely respected space by important figures in the underground electronic music scene."

St Michael's and All Saints' Charities has submitted plans to change the nightclub into retail space and hoped a full refurbishment would follow in early 2018.

In its plans, the charity said: "The change of use and removal of the nightclub will improve the Frewin Court alleyway which is currently home to two nightclub venues."

It also said that urination was a problem in the alleyway and planned to move the club's double doors.

The petition will be handed to the building's owners urging them to keep it open and in doing so 'save Oxford's nightlife'.

A whole host of big names have thrown their weight behind the club in recent times and called for it to keep its place as Oxford top venue for music.

Gaz Coombes, formerly of Supergrass said: "Oxford has some great venues, like The Cellar, where I’ve seen a few shows. I love these places where you can feel the sweat dripping from the ceiling and the breath of the front row on your face."

Oxford folk-pop band Stornoway, which played its last gig in Oxford earlier this year, also has supported the club's independence.

Singer and guitarist Brian Briggs said: "It's a classic - it's bang in the centre of Oxford, but is in a secluded alleyway off Cornmarket.

It is underground, has low ceilings, and on a busy day it drips with water - it has a great atmosphere."

But it is perhaps Walter Gervers from Foals, who most fondly recalled the club when backing it ahead of an independent venue week.

He said: "I have fond, albeit boozy, memories of Truck’s Trailer park nights, and feeling very privileged to let whoever was headlining to sleep in bags on our floor that night, long before I was doing the same on other people’s.

"It’s also probably the venue that members of my band have been thrown out of more times than we’ve played there. Quite an accolade."