Cellar, one of Oxford’s most popular music venues, has taken an important step to securing its future. The venue won permission from Oxford County Council to build a new fire escape further along Cornmarket Street, thereby meeting all the its legal obligations. The club had previously been under threat as safety inspectors found its fire exit too narrow, leading them to limit its capacity from 150 to 60 and make the venue unviable.
The work will be funded by over £92,000 raised by supporters in a crowdfunding campaign, with the funds also contributing to improvements to its floor and making up for lost revenue. The layout will also change, with the central bar replaced with two smaller bars on each side to create a larger viewing area in front of the stage. The renovations are expected to be completed by mid-March and will increase its capacity to 270.
Owner Tim Hopkins said, “After all the turmoil and stress we have had a great result with a bigger capacity and can keep our audiences safer.”
However, the club remains under threat, as it still needs to arrange a new lease with owners St Michael’s and All Saints’ Charities.
Image Credit: Basher Eyre (CC BY-SA 2.0).