ONE of Southend’s most iconic nightclubs has gone on the market amid a warning from its owner that the town’s nightlife is struggling.

Dick de Vigne’s has been one of the town’s go-to venues for revellers since it opened 15 years ago.

Former DJ Dick de Vigne, who also owns Chameleon, in Lucy Road, described himself as “at a crossroads” and is weighing up options by putting both clubs on the market. Neither have an asking price listed.

He recently sold his third nightclub, Box, in March this year for an undisclosed sum.

The 72-year-old said: “We put them on the market because we’re at a bit of a crossroads whether to carry on with it.

“The nightclub scene in Southend has taken a big fall in recent years and we are looking at our options by seeing if there is any interest in buying the clubs.”

The businessman said a number of factors had led to the decline in nightclubs in recent years.

He said: “It’s a combination of reasons really.

“The world has changed and not as many people want to go out to nightclubs as much anymore.

“People like pre-drinking at home and want to stay in and some parents won’t let their kids go out at night anymore because of violence in the town and it all has an impact.”

Southend district commander Chief Inspector Neil Pudney said: “We are committed to keeping people safe and have seen a 21.5 per cent reduction in violence with injury crime in the night time economy.

“We are not aware of any significant incidents of violence at venues within the town centre and only three incidents have been reported at Dick De Vignes since January.

“We continue to work with members of Pubwatch and all our licensees to ensure everyone has a safe and enjoyable time when they visit the town centre.

“Southend has also retained its Purple Flag status for night time safety, which is a national scheme that recognises excellence in the management of town and city centres at night. 

“This is a result of the ongoing work involving my officers and other agencies from the Community Safety Partnership.

“Our expanding town centre team has also been working hard to tackle issues such as violence and anti-social behaviour, and our proactive team, which focuses on tackling prolific and wanted offenders, has made hundreds of arrests since it was established in October last year.”

Dick’s, which occupies a large space on the corner of Warrior Square, near Southend High Street, is licensed until 4am every day of the week with a capacity for 500 people.

And despite Mr de Vigne’s concerns, clubbers can still regularly be seen queuing round the block to get into the popular hotspot.

Mr de Vigne added: “It is proving a struggle but it’s still a very popular nightclub.

“There’s only two really going in the town centre now and we’ve been going for 15 years now - the atmosphere still doesn’t compare to anywhere else.”

Last October, MooMoo Clubrooms opened directly opposite Dick de Vigne’s, in Warrior Square.

The nightclub is owned by Bar Fever which operates 30 nightclubs across the country.

Mike Gray, of Dedman Gray, said he expects the venue to remain as a nightclub if any new owner is found.

He added: “While it seems there’s been quite a change in recent years in the bars, nightclubs and entertainment side of things in Southend, Dick de Vigne’s is certainly one that’s always beaten the market and has remained popular venue which has stood the test of time.

“A few years ago, there was a shift for lots of bars and clubs to be in the town itself so therefore the location of Dick de Vigne’s has always helped and it’s probably looking for new owners to give it some fresh input and take it to the next stage as Mr de Vigne is just considering a change.

“We certainly see this as continuing as a night time venue in the same use for many years to come.”

Mr Devigne cut his teeth working at clubs across Essex, including Talk of the South, now Talk, in Lucy Road,

Mr de Vigne says he has no current plans to launch any other business ventures in Southend.

Dick de Vigne’s is on the market with Dedman Gray. For more visit