Stowmarket: Jokers nightclub and The Duke’s Head pub both close. What is the future for the town’s economy?

The Jokers nightclub in Stowmarket

The Jokers nightclub in Stowmarket - Credit: Archant

A town centre has suffered a double blow to its economy with the closure of a pub and a nightclub.

The Duke's Head in Stowmarket

The Duke's Head in Stowmarket - Credit: Archant

The Duke’s Head pub and Jokers nightclub in Ipswich Street, Stowmarket, have both closed in a short space of time.

Richard Roper, 56, has been the owner of Jokers for more than 25 years but said the business had struggled in the past 18 months.

“It started with the recession and was a combination of cheap drink from supermarkets and late night pub licensing – people were turning up much later to the club,” he said.

“We had a vastly reduced income and over the last 18 months things got worse and worse. The culture of people changed – a lot of people do not go out so much, they stay in and have a drinks at home.”

He wished to thank all the staff for their work and customers for their loyalty.

Hannah Harris was the assistant manager at The Duke’s Head’s.

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She said: “The pub has been sold but what it will become or where it will go or what will happen no one knows. I was told three weeks ago it would close which was a shock as I had only been here a week.”

Both businesses were close to the thriving Regal theatre and other pubs, The Oak and the Wetherspoon-run The Willow Tree.

Sharon Brown, town centre manager for Stowmarket Town Centre Partnership, said: “The Duke’s Head is a very prominent site in the town. I am just hoping it’s not going to remain boarded up for a period of time. From what I have seen over the years it was a fairly popular pub, certainly over the weekend. I was surprised to hear that it had closed and hope something goes in there quickly because it’s not going to improve that end of town the way it now is.”

A spokeswoman for the Duke’s Head said: “Where possible, employees will be offered roles across other businesses operated by Stonegate Pub Company. The management would like to thank all their loyal customers over the years.”

On Wednesday the John Peel Centre will host a major conference on the town’s economic future.

The Stowmarket and District Chamber of Commerce event will take place between 10am-2pm.

To book a place go to the chamber’s website.

What do you think of the town? Leave your thoughts and comments below.

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