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Rates rises blamed as Newtown nightclub to close after 30 years

By Jonny Drury | Newtown | Mid Wales entertainment | Published:

Newtown's Crystals Nightclub is to close after 30 years - with rising business rates have been blamed for a decision.

Crystals Nightclub is housed in The Regent Centre on Broad Street. Photo: Google StreetView.

Severnside Leisure Ltd has announced that the club, housed in The Regent Centre on Broad Street will close, alongside the Exchange Pub which has been operating for 18 years.

The pub will close on Saturday, October 28, with the nightclub continuing to operate until the end of the year.

The closures will also mean the loss of four full time jobs and 26 part time positions.

Severnside managing director Luke Orehawa said the closure had been a difficult decision to take, but rising business rates and increasing operating costs had resulted in the company deciding not to renew the lease at The Regent Centre.

Mr Orehawa said: "We have come to this very difficult decision as changing consumer demands coupled with increasing operating costs make the existing use of this very large grade II listed building unsustainable.

"Business rates set by the valuation office have been a major contributing factor to our decision.

"After contesting the rates for five years, the valuation office, through in-action, have failed to assist in keeping over 30 jobs alive in the town centre.

"Recent changes in the business rates system have recently seen our rates rise considerably and have forced us to this decision."

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Thousands of pubs and clubs all over the UK are being hit by hikes in business rates, as a result of a re-valuation process, which began earlier this year.

Oliver Parry of the Salopian Bar said last month that his rates are rising four-fold, from £11,000 a year to £42,500.

He said if his appeal is not successful, then he will be forced to shut.

Mr Orehawa appealed rates of £45,000 in 2010, but before the appeal was complete the rates bill increased to £50,000.

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He believes more pubs will be axed due to the rates rise, and has called for Powys County Council to intervene and make sure the historic Regent Centre building does not remain empty.

He said: "More pubs will go across the country, but I am not sure about Newtown.

"I would like to see Powys County Council recognise that without intervention the building will remain empty, rather than add value to the community as it has done for the past 130 years with its use as a flannel exchange, post office, prison cells, court, cinema, ballroom, nightclub, restaurant and pub."

The nightclub has hosted many big acts, comedians and DJs since it opened in the summer of 1987.

The Exchange public house was opened 18 years ago and has served food and hosted live bands and pub quizzes.

Mr Orehawa and fellow director Renney Baynes have organised a host of events over the coming months before the doors are shut.

He added: "Both Renney and I would like to thank you for all the support of the years of customers and employees past and present.

"Whilst Crystal’s doors will close after 30 years, we will be putting on a jam-packed two months of events, allowing us to reminisce our many popular nights and we would like you all to join us."

Jonny Drury

By Jonny Drury
@JonnyDrury_Star

Reporter covering Oswestry and Mid Wales

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