An abandoned gin bar in Abingdon is expected to be repossessed, according to a legal notice.

The Old Chemist opened in High Street at Easter in 2019 on the site of the former Smith’s chemists.

But during work to install a rest room in the basement a potentially dangerous type of asbestos was found, according to the owners of the lease.

The building was then shut down early in 2020.

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Now, shortly after a window was smashed at the premises, a legal notice of forfeiture has been placed in the window.

The notice is addressed to The Old Dispensary Pub Company, Ronald Carter and any others whom it may concern.

Oxford Mail: The Old ChemistIt says: "Take notice that Avicenna Retail Ltd, the landlord, has secured vacant possession of the property situated at and known as 23 High Street (basement and ground floor) Abingdon, by changing the locks, thereby forfeiting the lease dated October 11 2019 determining any interest you have in the property."

The notice goes on to warn that any goods inside could be seized and sold within 14 days if they are not collected.

Co-owner Terry Milne said early in 2020: “The business was ticking along and in December work took place to provide a rest room and ensuite toilet in the basement.

“A sub-contractor got suspicious about asbestos and some samples were sent off.

“It’s all in the basement but it’s potentially dangerous so the building is sealed off and the health and safety executive has been informed.”

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The businessmen who took over the bar suffered a series of setbacks including having to spend £40,000 trying to keep pigeons away from the building.

Then they were forced to close for a short time due to staff shortages before reopening.Oxford Mail: The notice of forfeiture

The final straw came when asbestos was supposedly found in the property and it closed for good shortly afterwards.

The bar did not receive overwhelmingly positive reviews when it was open.

It was rated two out of five on reviews site TripAdvisor and was ranked 75 out of 78 restaurants in Abingdon.

One drinker enjoyed his visit, saying: “A really nice bar area and very welcoming staff - it has some really cool booths with power and USB points.”

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In recent months the frontage has looked increasingly damaged and the broken window may have prompted the legal notice. 

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About the author 

Andy is the Trade and Tourism reporter for the Oxford Mail and you can sign up to his newsletters for free here. 

He joined the team more than 20 years ago and he covers community news across Oxfordshire.

His Trade and Tourism newsletter is released every Saturday morning. 

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