WANTAGE'S only nightclub has announced it will not be reopening.

Shush owner Steve Head took to social media on Saturday 'with a heavy heart' to make the unexpected announcement.

Like many other businesses in the hospitality industry shut for more than three months on Government orders, Shush has been thrown into a financial black hole.

One hopeful local has already launched a campaign to raise £10,000 to ‘save’ the beloved nightclub just off Wantage Marketplace, but it may be in vain.

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Mr Head’s video announcement on Facebook, which has received hundreds of comments of support, began: “With a very heavy heart our family has decided that the doors to Shush will remain closed."

He went on: "We will not be reopening – we are so sorry and we are absolutely devastated that we have to announce this."

Oxford Mail:

Mr Head said the main reason behind the decision was the pandemic, but added that there were other factors like coronavirus insurance claims and agreement with the landlord over rent payments.

He revealed how he had just signed a new ten-year lease for the venue at Christmas.

When all non-essential businesses were forced to shut in March, the family decided to use the opportunity of the closure to start work on a major renovation that would have created a new wine bar, dance area and kitchen in Shush.

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However, Mr Head said that that he had not been able to get an insurance pay-out that he would need to keep the business open.

He added: “The whole philosophy of our business is based on socialising, not social-distancing.

“Every part of what we do raises issues.”

Following the unexpected announcement, ‘devastated’ residents shared their fond memories of the club on Newbury Street.

Musician Marcus Flynn, who has performed at Shush in the past, said: “Absolutely the finest people and music venue you could ever play at.”

Another Facebook user Danni Anns commented: “It is so sad to see this.

Oxford Mail:

“It has been a long long time since I worked for you Steve but the time I spent at Shush with you all and you being my sponsor for Miss Oxfordshire is something I will always cherish.

“You are such a lovely family and I truly wish you all the best.”

Wantage resident Lynda Culley hailed the club as ‘probably the best thing to happen – especially for the younger generation’ in all the years she has lived in the town.

Mr Head also added that by now people should have received their deposit money for tickets and events back.

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He added: “Our family is proud to have brought so many talented people to our stage.

“Wantage and the surrounding area has got such great musicians and it has been a real pleasure, we have enjoyed each and every one of them.

“It has been a privilege to play our own little part in Wantage and hopefully some day you will all refer to the good old Shush days and remember them fondly as we will.”

Not long after the announcement, Wantage resident Mike Hissey launched a crowdfunding web page to raise £10,000 to try to save the venue.

However his JustGiving fundraiser gathered only 12 supporters and raised £120 – only one per cent of the high target.

He then took to Facebook to urge people to ‘not donate’ to the cause.

Mr Hissey said: “ It seems that we will not know more for another few weeks or so and it appears I may have jumped on this too soon."

He added: “Anyone that has donated can you please get in touch with me.

“I am unclear as to what is happening at the minute so do not want to do any crowdfunding yet.”