PLANS TO renovate Oxford’s The Cellar (cap. 150) – saved from potential closure after 40 years in the same building – are to be revisited, as discussions to renew the venue’s lease were started.
Landlord of the building, St Michael’s and All Saints’ Charities, had previously blocked attempts by manager Tim Hopkins to secure a new lease, as they pursued an application to turn the basement venue into a retail space. But with the plan withdrawn (see LIVE UK issue 214), Hopkins is planning for the future.
“We’re in talks with the landlord about renegotiating the lease,” he tells LIVE UK. “The current one ends in mid-December and hopefully by the end of January we’ll have a new lease for three or five years.”
Hopkins says fighting the threat to the venue, which has hosted early shows by Mumford & Sons, Foals and The National, has cost “thousands of pounds” in legal fees.
“That wasn’t something we budgeted for, but I can now go back to investing in a new floor, lighting and sound system, which I’d stopped thinking about when we might have been evicted,” he says.