Loss of club leaves Void in dance scene
BULLDOZERS have moved in to clear a nightspot famed for putting Stoke-on-Trent on the clubbing map.
The Void in Hanley will be demolished later this week and replaced with a 36-space car park.
The 1,200-capacity dance venue – which in its heyday attracted superstar DJs including Judge Jules, Sasha and Paul Oakenfold – has stood empty since closing in 2003.
Owners Paul Walters and Dave Goodwin said changing fashions in music and clubbing spelt the end for the Glass Street club.
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Dave first took on the nightspot in January 1993, when it went under the name The Academy.
"I will never forget that opening night," said the 49-year-old from Baldwins Gate.
"We had Sister Sledge performing, as they had recently been at number one in the charts, and the queue went down the street
"I saw a real gap in the market in Stoke-on-Trent. I had spent some time in Ibiza and wanted to have a dance club here."
The club underwent a £500,000 overhaul in 1996 and later became known as The Void. And it was then that its club night Golden attracted some of the country's best DJs.
Paul, aged 46, from Newcastle, said: "When it was packed out every week, it was a fantastic feeling to be involved with it. It was nice to know we had really put Stoke-on-Trent on the map.
"I think there was just a change in fashion and in what music people wanted to listen to. While dance music was still big across Europe, it was dying in this country."
Social networking site Facebook has a string of groups calling for the return of The Void.
Paul added he had toyed with the idea of a farewell bash.
He said: "I considered doing a New Year's Eve party there but, when we looked at the cost of it all, there was no way we could have done it. Too much needed to be done."
Paul, who spends his summers in Ibiza, said he wouldn't rule out opening another city club one day.
He added: "It wasn't just dance DJs we attracted. We had boxer Nigel Benn do a set, and Doves.
"But when bars started to get late licences, no-one wanted to pay £10 to get into a club, and it was costing us in excess of £10,000 to get a DJ for a two-hour set. It just wasn't viable anymore."
The business partners will now hire a firm to manage the new car park on their behalf.
Jeff Mountford, aged 29, from Audley, was a regular at the Void.
He said: "I'd always hoped that someone with a feel for nostalgia would buy it and take it back to its glory days, but clearly that's not going to be the case.
"It's a shame that it is now going to be nothing more than a part of the area's history."
Local historian Angie Stevenson, from Longton, added: "I remember standing in the ruins of Jollies and couldn't believe it had been knocked down. Many people will feel the same about The Void."