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Thursday, 02 October 2014

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Cumbrian nightclub to close at weekend after Wetherspoon buys building

A nightclub which has been a meeting place for more than three decades will close this weekend.

Toppers photo
Toppers

Toppers in Penrith will hold its last event this Saturday, after the building was sold to the pub chain JD Wetherspoon.

Toppers in Southend Road opened 35 years ago and developed into one of the biggest nightclubs in Cumbria attracting around 1,300 people every Saturday evening.

For the past 15 years it has been owned by Simon Nutter, 56, who said he was sad to see the club close.

“Toppers will have its last night on Saturday and then we’ll be gone,” he said.

“We’re having a bit of a party night with some of the old DJs coming back to see the place off.

“We’ve been part of the town for so long that it will be an occasion.

“I haven’t decided yet what I will do once the place closes - we’ll just have to see what happens.”

Mr Nutter said the advent of cheap alcohol had brought a change in the night-time economy with people drinking at home before going out later in the evening. He added: “It is difficult these days to run a successful nightclub because more people are drinking at home. It’s sad that we have generation of young people who no longer go out for the evening and socially interact as people did in the past. If they do go out it isn’t until after 10pm.

“Because of this we had to start opening the club from midnight to 4am which is not really what we wanted.”

Wetherspoons has long had plans to open in Penrith. The firm had previously tried to take over the building that houses the Penrith’s cinema before a campaign saved the picture house from closure.

The chain announced its intention to move into the Toppers building soon after completing a deal last year to buy Keswick’s former police station. Wetherspoons also have bars in Carlisle, Workington and Whitehaven.

Toppers’ final evening will feature chart, pop and rock music in the upstairs bar with dance music downstairs.

Then everything in the club will be for sale – from a full sound and light system to pint glasses.

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