Oxford

The Cellar Oxford music venue closes

The Cellar
Image caption The Cellar has been run by the Hopkins family since the 1980s

An Oxford music venue that played host to bands such as Supergrass and Foals has "closed its doors for the last time", according to its owners.

Owners of The Cellar in Frewin Court had raised £92,000 in a crowdfunding campaign backed by Oxford bands including Radiohead and Ride.

Ex-Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker, BBC Radio 6 Music DJ Steve Lamacq and folk singer Frank Turner also tried to save it.

But the owners said negotiations over a rent deal took too long.

Manager Tim Hopkins called it a "sad time for Oxford's city centre".

Plans to redevelop the basement venue were officially withdrawn in 2017 after a petition to keep it open gathered 13,000 signatures.

But in June it was hit by further problems when inspectors ruled its fire escape was too small and limited its capacity to 60 people.

Image copyright The Cellar
Image caption Gaz Coombes, formerly of Supergrass, said losing The Cellar would be "disastrous"
Image copyright The Cellar
Image caption Radiohead's Philip Selway donated a signed snare drum towards the campaign

"After months of negotiations, we would have loved to have been able to take the landlord's final rent offer, but it came too late," Mr Hopkins said.

"Essentially, the whole process took far longer than we were expecting, and we simply could not keep operating under these conditions."

He added: "We hope... this space will continue as a live music venue."

Landlord St Michael's and All Saints' Charities said: "Unfortunately, even though we made generous concessions, agreement has not proved possible.

'Low rent'

"[We] support many vital charities across the city and the wider county and inevitably we also have to consider the best interests of our beneficiaries.

"We could not in all conscience accept such a low rent.

"Now that The Cellar has made the decision to close its doors, we are looking to find an alternative and quality tenant to carry on the much-loved music scene in Oxford."

Reacting to news of the closure, the Music Venue Trust, which aims to protect such venues, said: "This can't be allowed to carry on; the closure of our grassroots music venues is a national disgrace.

"We need action now from government, cultural sector and the music industry."

Previously known as The Corn Dolly and The Dolly, The Cellar had been run by the Hopkins family since the 1980s.

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