Bar sale bid raises town centre fears

On the market – councillor David Harrison outside Bar Plazma

On the market – councillor David Harrison outside Bar Plazma

First published in News by

A POPULAR nightspot is up for sale, sparking renewed fears for the future of Wickford High Street.

Bar Plazma has been put on the market for £295,000, just two years after new owner Fraser Donaldson took over.

Worried councillors fear Wickford as a whole would suffer if a buyer decided to turn the building into something other than a sports bar and lounge, which it has been for 12 years.

They say it could even put £3.2million plans to regenerate the town centre in jeopardy.

David Harrison, Ukip councillor for Wickford Park ward, said: “Bar Plazma is the only bar of its type in Wickford.

“I always thought it was popular and doing really well.

“It would be such a loss if it didn’t continue as it is now. It's important for us to have a night time economy in the town. We can’t afford to lose any more High Street premises.”

Michael Mowe, Tory councillor for Wickford North, added: “It is an important asset for Wickford. We need something like Bar Plazma to keep the High Street going.

"It is open in the day for tea, coffee and lunch, and in the evening it caters for a different clientele. I’ve never heard of any trouble there.

“Whenever I have been in for lunch it has always been fairly busy, so I wouldn't have thought it was struggling.

“We’ve got a lot of changes going on in Wickford at the moment and we need to keep the momentum going.”

The 4,100 sq ft bar was originally opened in 2002 by Douglas Quirk, who was also behind the Ivory Rooms in Billericay. and trades daily from 7am until 2am.

It has a main bar area, a separate cocktail bar, and an outdoor dining area, capable of accommodating 300 people in total.

Mr Quirk retired two years ago, handing over to Mr Donaldson, who came in with more than 20 years experience running nightclubs.

At the time, he said: “I am very excited to come back to Essex with this new business and hope to grow the business for as many years as Douglas.”

When the Echo tried to contact Mr Donaldson yesterday for a comment, his staff told us he was away, but theywould try to getamessage to him. He did not get back to us before the paper went to press.

Comments (8)

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6:22am Fri 25 Jul 14

Dan_ says...

There doesn't seem to be any actual facts in this article? No comment from the owner, and just a bunch of speculation by a councillor and apparently the paper. Who said it wouldn't still be a bar? When? Being for sale, and without someone actually saying with their mouth that they intend to turn it into something else, doesn't suggest in the slightest it might stop being a bar? And apparently there is "fear", who is it that's frightened exactly? Stories like this are frankly hovering pretty close to being defamatory; you're kind of casting the current owner in a bad light when he's done nothing wrong, and it's negative press for any would be owner IF at some point it was sold. One last thing, if one bar is all that stands between a successful regeneration of an entire Hugh Street, and 'jeopardy' - you better take a dam good look at your proposals!
There doesn't seem to be any actual facts in this article? No comment from the owner, and just a bunch of speculation by a councillor and apparently the paper. Who said it wouldn't still be a bar? When? Being for sale, and without someone actually saying with their mouth that they intend to turn it into something else, doesn't suggest in the slightest it might stop being a bar? And apparently there is "fear", who is it that's frightened exactly? Stories like this are frankly hovering pretty close to being defamatory; you're kind of casting the current owner in a bad light when he's done nothing wrong, and it's negative press for any would be owner IF at some point it was sold. One last thing, if one bar is all that stands between a successful regeneration of an entire Hugh Street, and 'jeopardy' - you better take a dam good look at your proposals! Dan_
  • Score: 10

6:24am Fri 25 Jul 14

Dan_ says...

"hugh" Street; my suggestion to rename the high street as part of plans to revitalise the area. (not really, just a typo!)
"hugh" Street; my suggestion to rename the high street as part of plans to revitalise the area. (not really, just a typo!) Dan_
  • Score: 6

8:17am Fri 25 Jul 14

black jack ketchum says...

A complete non story, someone selling their business & that's it!

Talk about nothing better to do!
A complete non story, someone selling their business & that's it! Talk about nothing better to do! black jack ketchum
  • Score: 5

8:24am Fri 25 Jul 14

DutchCyclist says...

The fear may be that the premises will be turned into another take away, estate agents or god forbid a betting shop. This will probably then mark the end of the Wickford high street.
The fear may be that the premises will be turned into another take away, estate agents or god forbid a betting shop. This will probably then mark the end of the Wickford high street. DutchCyclist
  • Score: 3

9:37am Fri 25 Jul 14

Dan_ says...

DutchCyclist wrote:
The fear may be that the premises will be turned into another take away, estate agents or god forbid a betting shop. This will probably then mark the end of the Wickford high street.
I don't think you should be in fear. Subway have just moved in, soon a Costa. Entities like that are not stupid, they have faith that their businesses can be sustained by the local economy. The council is on with making aesthetic improvements and the master plan. Housing developers are building very near by again. There are numerous other draws to the high street at night (restaurants). I think looking at the bigger picture the future is looking pretty bright. The echo being unnecessarily negative about councils, and businesses and the place I live is kind of immoral when you think about it!
[quote][p][bold]DutchCyclist[/bold] wrote: The fear may be that the premises will be turned into another take away, estate agents or god forbid a betting shop. This will probably then mark the end of the Wickford high street.[/p][/quote]I don't think you should be in fear. Subway have just moved in, soon a Costa. Entities like that are not stupid, they have faith that their businesses can be sustained by the local economy. The council is on with making aesthetic improvements and the master plan. Housing developers are building very near by again. There are numerous other draws to the high street at night (restaurants). I think looking at the bigger picture the future is looking pretty bright. The echo being unnecessarily negative about councils, and businesses and the place I live is kind of immoral when you think about it! Dan_
  • Score: 4

10:56am Fri 25 Jul 14

John Right says...

Make a nice surgery for all the local alcoholics, druggies and prostitutes
Make a nice surgery for all the local alcoholics, druggies and prostitutes John Right
  • Score: -1

11:15am Fri 25 Jul 14

Kim Gandy says...

"UKIP" councillor? Are you sure. Last time I looked, he was doing a good job of sucking up to his mates in the Labour party.

A dyed in the wool Socialist elected purely on the fact that he was wearing a purple rosette.

As for this proposed sale... it's not a story until it's a story, if you see what I mean.

Then and only then is the right time to be discussing the ownership and any proposed change of use.

Nice photo opportunity though.
"UKIP" councillor? Are you sure. Last time I looked, he was doing a good job of sucking up to his mates in the Labour party. A dyed in the wool Socialist elected purely on the fact that he was wearing a purple rosette. As for this proposed sale... it's not a story until it's a story, if you see what I mean. Then and only then is the right time to be discussing the ownership and any proposed change of use. Nice photo opportunity though. Kim Gandy
  • Score: -4

11:19am Fri 25 Jul 14

John Right says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
"UKIP" councillor? Are you sure. Last time I looked, he was doing a good job of sucking up to his mates in the Labour party.

A dyed in the wool Socialist elected purely on the fact that he was wearing a purple rosette.

As for this proposed sale... it's not a story until it's a story, if you see what I mean.

Then and only then is the right time to be discussing the ownership and any proposed change of use.

Nice photo opportunity though.
One of your idols then, eh Chuckie..
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: "UKIP" councillor? Are you sure. Last time I looked, he was doing a good job of sucking up to his mates in the Labour party. A dyed in the wool Socialist elected purely on the fact that he was wearing a purple rosette. As for this proposed sale... it's not a story until it's a story, if you see what I mean. Then and only then is the right time to be discussing the ownership and any proposed change of use. Nice photo opportunity though.[/p][/quote]One of your idols then, eh Chuckie.. John Right
  • Score: 3

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