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Aylesbury venue which hosted The Rolling Stones closes today

Gala Bingo are shutting down in Aylesbury and there are calls to turn it back into a music venue.

Published by Dan Gooding at 5:41am 7th February 2019. 3-minute read.

Aylesbury venue which hosted The Rolling Stones closes today

After nearly 50 years as a bingo hall, the doors will close for good on the Granada in Aylesbury tonight.

Gala Bingo are moving out of the 1930s building on the High Street, which was once a music hall and cinema.

It once played host to none other than the Rolling Stones!

David Stopps, from Friars Club, told us:

"One of the most amazing gigs was The Rolling Stones, who played the Granada in 1964.

"It was an incredibly foggy night and somehow Brian Jones got lost on the way to Aylesbury.

"So it was the only time they ever played as a four-piece."

Gala Bingo told us last month they would shut the club down today:

"Following a review of our club portfolio, we have decided to close the Aylesbury club on Thursday 7th February. 

"Our key priority is looking after our colleagues and customers.

"We will make every effort to offer them opportunities to transfer to other clubs and will continue to support them at this time."

That sparked a petition to save the building, over fears it could be demolished under AVDC's Waterside North plans.

It calls for the building to be kept and turned back into a music venue.

David is backing the idea:

"We've got the fantastic Waterside Theatre, which is brilliant, with 1,600 capacity and you've got smaller venues like Dukes, with a 200/250 capacity, but there is nothing in the middle and it's that middle range which creates all the new bands."

What have the council said?

Councillor Julie Ward, Cabinet Member for Civic Amenities at AVDC said:

“The indicative master plan dating back to 2014 for the Exchange Street car park and some of the adjacent buildings, showed the Gala Bingo site (the old Granada Cinema building) as being demolished, with the space used for mixed-use development with a new entrance onto the High Street to better connect the High Street to The Exchange - bringing increased footfall to that part of town."

But she said this was five years ago, and that the council has always maintained that because of the volatile retail market they would need to remain agile and adapt as things evolve.

That is why they have developed The Exchange in phases.

Cllr Ward continued:

“AVDC is committed to the ongoing regeneration of the town centre, and with Garden Town status, we’re keen to explore the next phase, while in the meantime bringing forward the improvement schemes for Kingsbury and Market Square.

"We are shaping a town for future generations while seeking to preserve our heritage and culture.

“Although we wouldn’t be in a position to retain and manage the Gala Bingo site on a non-commercial basis, we’ve always said that we’re open to suggestions for its future use which could be explored.

"We would welcome approaches from operators with interest in their proposals for the building and how it could enhance the High Street and town centre regeneration more widely."

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