Aylesbury Town Centre faces uncertain future after high profile businesses go up for sale

Dukes is set to close, after ten years of entertaining Aylesbury pundits
Dukes is set to close, after ten years of entertaining Aylesbury pundits

Three big names in Aylesbury Town Centre revealed they could be leaving us this week, in a bad week for Aylesbury retailers.

The Iconic music venue, the Aristocrat pub remains but is looking for a buyer.

The Works is up for sale as the company 'restructures their finances' following the closure of their Chelmsford store

The Works is up for sale as the company 'restructures their finances' following the closure of their Chelmsford store

The announcement came through a candid Facebook post:

"You all may have heard through the "Aylesbury gazette" or grapevine that the Aristocrat Lease is up for sale.. This is true!!

"We just wanted to take a moment to give reason to all of our wonderful supporters, and friends that we have made throughout our time here.


"Nick and I embarked on our journey in 2016, we have worked tirelessly to bring our passion of music & design into the lives of others, we had a strong business model idea in respect to taking on The Aristocrat, wanting to create a safe, warm and slightly different atmosphere for our customers.

The popular pub, The Aristocrat is up for sale

The popular pub, The Aristocrat is up for sale

"Tens of thousands of pounds later, we have achieved what we set out to, there are still some plans that have yet to be implemented.
We haven't given up on The Aristocrat, or you guys. Our love and passion is still there for it all.

"As you may or may not know, we were fortunate to expect a very wonderful, albeit total surprise (shock) of our little twins last May, they are growing fast and becoming more and more demanding, and they, our children, are the reason why we have decided to go on the Market, they come first.
The public house/ music venue trade isn't an environment for these two little monkeys, not to mention the serious sleep deprivation.. late night venue + twins = Crazy!!

"We have a duty of care for all of our Bands, Artists, Staff and Customers, we will keep the Aristocrat very much alive, i want to reassure you all that we will find the "right" person/persons to take it forward.

"There have been several viewings already, but we believe we have a duty of care to keep this venue alive & kicking for the people of Bucks and beyond.

"We will be around for a while yet, but just want to set the wagging tongues straight, and before this is taken out of context..."

The popular Aylesbury nightspot is up for sale but will remain open for business.

A sweet tooth favourite 'The Works' also announced that they are restructuring their business, after a key flagship store in Chelmsford was closed.

The Aylesbury store is currently up for sale on rightmove, but the owner has made clear they remain committed to the area.

But as always, things are liable to change.

Aylesbury has always been a town of innovation and development. What was once a burgeoning market town, the 70s bought with it major development which saw older, iconic, buildings being knocked down making way for newer, more high-tech, buildings.

At the time The Bucks Herald called it 'The Coming of Space Age Aylesbury, to what was always the old-world centre of a small country town.'

Aylesbury has continued to expand and change ever since. With huge developments happening in the centre such as Kingsbury square and now the Exchange Street development, as well as the ever expanding housing developments.

There were of course arguments on both sides, some saw it as moving into the modern age; making Aylesbury a place to come to to go for a day out and to go shopping.

Others were less impressed by the changes that were taking place, and worried that after a time Aylesbury would become less and less a desirable destination to commute to.

Which is a sentiment shared today by some local business owners.

Susan Latham, owner of Dukes and Shoot Pool says she is very worried about the state of the town and the downturn in interest in local venues.

“When we first opened, right up until 5 or 6 years ago Aylesbury was the place to go for a night out.

“Recently though, that's just not the case. It's a commuter town and with how easy it is to get to places like London, nobody really makes it a night out in town anymore.

“It's not just the business levels, it's the cost of running a venue too.

“Our music licence is around £3500 a year, and then we have to pay the bands which could be up to £400. On top of that we of course have to pay our bar staff and door security.

“We started charging £2 on the door to help cover these costs, but as soon as you put on a door charge less people come.

“We've taken the door charge of recently and numbers have risen a little but sadly it's too little too late.

“We put the effort in over ten years but we have to move with the times and it's just not something we can continue with sadly.

“The whole situation has left me a little numb.”

“We do have an end of an era party we are holding at Dukes on the April 6 as a thanks for all the wonderful support we've had over the years, all are welcome.

It's not just the existing businesses that are struggling.

The Exchange development had its grand opening last week, March 8.

This was phase one of the opening, the apartments have opened and the business units are set to open on on Thursday April 4 with a handful of restaurants including Zizzi and The Rococo Lounge.

One of the prime retail units has struggled to find any takers though and is now, due to lack on interest going to become an orthodontists.