In June the council rejected plans to extend opening hours at the Academy. The planned extension was to include opening an hour earlier each day, opening for four extra hours on Sundays before bank holidays and until 6am on May Morning. The plans to extend opening hours were rejected by councillors due to concerns about crime, community safety and noise.
The plans prompted 46 letters of objection from local residents who feared extended drinking hours would increase anti-social behaviour. Residents’ complaints contributed to the move of Fuzzy Ducks from the O2 to Wahoo at the beginning of this term.
Planning officers originally came out in support of extending opening hours. In a report presented to councillors they wrote, “The variation would not significantly alter the existing operating hours of this venue with the Cowley Road district centre and, in the absence of any significant objection from Thames Valley Police and licensing officers, it would be difficult to demonstrate that it would have a significant impact upon neighbouring residential properties in terms of increased noise, disturbance, and antisocial behaviour.” At the meeting vetoing the planned extension of hours, Thames Valley Police made no objection to the plan.
William Pimlott, a student at Wadham, commented, “As a resident of Bullingdon Road I find it outrageous that our local night life opportunities should be so limited by priggish and party-pooping residents. Already one is often forced to travel across town to inebriate oneself and enjoy loud music, and if these draconian measures are pushed any further Cowley will become a desert reminiscent of those most barren of places: Somerville and Jericho.’
“My only regret with local Nightlife pursuers is their cavalier attitude to our vulnerable wheely bins which often fall prey to ‘hilarious’ pranks and other such misdemeanorariness, but I am willing to sacrifice the poor and unsuspecting wheely bins to the greater good.”
A second year Oxford Brookes student added, “Extending the opening hours won’t make the O2 more popular with students. Everyone already goes into town for the better nights at Junction and Wahoo.”