WIGAN’S entertainment industry suffered another blow after a leading town centre nightclub was forced to close its doors.
Around 40 people are believed to have lost their jobs after Bliss nightclub on King Street, which ran the Bliss and Groove events, was forced to shut down.
The club held its final night for revellers on Saturday, with the management saying the high business rates in the town centre made it impossible to remain viable.
The closure of Bliss, which only opened last October, is the latest setback for Wigan’s once-booming night-time economy, with the legendary Wigan Pier nightclub and the Chicago Rock bar on King Street also shutting in recent months.
Bliss and Groove general manager Jennifer Hunter said: “It’s a very sad situation and the staff are absolutely heartbroken. There’s now no nightclubs at all on King Street and it’s going to be sorely missed.
“Around 40 people have lost their jobs and there’s even more when you include door staff and DJs. We were increasing numbers through the door and profit but the business rates are too high, plain and simple. It meant we couldn’t survive on the trade we took.
“It’s a real shame it had to end so suddenly and dramatically, but it’s a decision that was taken out of our hands. We’re going to miss Wigan greatly and all the people who have accepted us, supported us and been very loyal to us.”
Jennifer says the management had considered trying to split up the building and only run one of the organisation’s events in Wigan, but this was blocked by the landlords and would not have been financially viable.
The club management took to social media to announce the closure, with several regular club-goers using Twitter and Facebook to express their sadness and disappointment at the news.
“We’ve had messages on Facebook from people saying they can’t believe it’s shutting and they won’t be travelling into Wigan any more”, added Jennifer.
A Wigan Council spokesman said: “Business rates are taxes collected to help pay for local services. Although Wigan Council collects the payments from businesses, the council has no control over the amount of rates that are charged for a property.”