Fears for Chichester nightlife after Thursdays club closes down

There are fears for city trade after a popular Chichester nightclub closed suddenly at the beginning of this week.

Thursdays nightclub, Oving

Thursdays nightclub in Drayton Lane, Oving, made the dramatic announcement on its Twitter feed on Monday, leaving a social media storm in its wake.

The Observer understands staff were told about the closure less than an hour before it was publicly announced.

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Now many businesses have voiced fears the closure of Thursdays could be detrimental to trade across the area.

The club announced its closure on Twitter, while thanking its customers for their support over the years.

The nightclub tweeted: “Thanks to all u lovely people the love we feel right now is amazing so nice to hear all the great memories !

As of now Thursdays Nightclub is now CLOSED.

Thanks to all our customers that have made ts what it is :)”

Asked why it had closed, the club said: “nothin bad the landlords would like there building back sorry team ts customers.”

Reacting to the news, businesses across Chichester and Bognor said the loss of Thursdays could lead to a loss of trade as people go further afield for nights out.

Crawford Winkworth is the marketing and events manager at Vision/Sheiks on Bognor Pier. He told the Observer: “It’s sad when any business closes.

“It’s a shame - we think the more bars, pubs and clubs there are, the better it is for the area.

“We’re in the same industry and it’s almost like a negative for the area - there is only one nightclub across Bognor and Chichester now. The more good nightclubs and bars the better variety there is for people. People don’t want to go to the same place every week. We’d rather keep people here - if there is more choice here we have got more chance of keeping the local people, who might otherwise go to Brighton, while attracting people from outside the area.

We are putting on a bus service on Friday and Saturday nights for people in Chichester. If they wouldn’t normally come over to Bognor Regis because it’s too far, there will be a new bus service starting to cater for anyone who wants a night out here - not to steal custom but to cater for people in Chichester. We will have good music and good promotions.”

On its Facebook page, Sheiks posted: “Not a great day for the local area’s nightlife or club/pubs in general as another good business closes. I know in some eyes, people think T’s was our competition but the more clubs and bars around the better the nightlife in general and better the overall business.

“We have some good friends and colleagues at Thursday’s and wish them all the best (and we’ll help where we can).”

Dean Oxborough is the general manager at the Slug and Lettuce in Chichester.

“This could go one way or the other,” he said.

“It will either make us busier and steadier all night, or ruin us because people will go to Portsmouth or Bognor. We have no chance of getting an extension of our license. Ideally we’d like to go to the council to open until 2am.

“Lloyds can’t even open after 12am.

“People come to the Slug for pre-drinks - what’s the point of going to Chichester if you can’t get in anywhere after 12?

“I would go to Bognor or Portsmouth because you know that you can carry on through the night.

“I don’t think anyone expected it - Thursdays had a brilliant weekend, they were at full capacity and then, boom, on Monday they made the announcement.”

Ryan Chittock, 19, works in The Globe Inn in Chichester.

He said The Globe was ideally located for anyone who wanted to start their night in Chichester before moving on to a bigger area such as Portsmouth or Brighton.

“If someone wants to go to Portsmouth they could get straight on a train from here. But Thursdays was an easy night out - you could jump on a bus for £2, and it was a cheap night out as well.”

Ryan’s colleague Rob Bulpett, 20, added: “It’s a big deal for the area. I think it could bring more custom to us, which is a good thing.

“This was a place for people to pre-drink.

“The impact if people don’t want to venture to Portsmouth or Brighton is that they are going to get intoxicated in the city, which will have a negative impact.

“So the effect of Thursdays closing down is mixed. It could have a negative impact on Chichester and could be a big problem.

“It’s sad because there is a lot of history - the club has been there for years - my parents used to go there.

“So it’s a bit of a shame.

“It was all so quick - there was no real announcement, and it’s not fair on customers not to give them an explanation.

“Apparently the landlords didn’t want it to be a club anymore.

“I don’t know where else they could put a club.”

Sussex Police confirmed the closure was not a police issue while Chichester District Council said it had no involvement with the decision to close the nightclub, and its licensing department knew nothing about the move.

A spokesman for Chichester District Council added: “Chichester District Council has received no planning applications relating to the Thursdays site.”

A spokesman for Stagecoach, which ran a bus service to Thursdays, said the company had no warning about the closure.

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