ACCRINGTON’S stagnant nightlife desperately needs a boost if it is to survive following a disappointing Christmas and New Year’s trading, say pub and club owners.
For years, traders have warned that the town has been losing night-time revellers to Blackburn and Burnley as well as larger venues in Manchester.
Lee Gregson, landlord of the Regency in Church Street, Accrington, said: "Trade has been rubbish and Accrington is dead.
"There are quite a few reasons for this and one is that most of the licensed trade won’t work together although there are some that do promote each other’s bars to keep people in the town. We have a close relationship with Baileys bar in Accrington.
"Another problem is that the council won’t promote the town at all. This is not just a problem with the night trade, it’s a problem with the day trade as well. You go past the market and it has two or three stalls on it and the rest are empty."
Mr Gregson said that his trade was now half what it had been a year earlier.
Mohammed Mukhtar and Tahir Iqbal, owners of Industry Nightclub on Church Street, Accrington, said Christmas trade at the club had been good – but stressed Accrington’s nightlife still needed saving.
Mr Iqbal said: "People are going out later and one of the reasons for this is that the 9pm circuit has been broken. More and more venues have now got late licences so people think they can go out later."
He said that in the past, people had started their nights out at pubs in the town before finishing at one of its nightclubs – but that this was no longer the case.
Mr Mukhtar said: "Basically, trade is nil. Everyone is just about making do. More help is needed for the town centre. A nightclub can’t do it by itself."
Ian Smith, president of Hyndburn Chamber of Trade said: "To me, the town centre trade is in trouble and something needs to be done about it. We need to get people into the town centre to patronise things like the pubs and clubs there.
"Accrington used to be one of the places to go to for a night out, but it’s not any more."
Council leader Peter Britcliffe said: "I think people are right to express concern as a lot of people have started to have parties at home rather than going out.
"I am very happy to host a meeting between the traders and Bill Huntley, our town centre manager, to see what can be done to buck this trend, which is a national one."