EDIT: This article is an April Fool. Read about the genuine 2015 closure here.
York student hotspot The Willow is set to close after a recent health and safety assessment raised serious concerns.
Following an inspection earlier this week, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) stipulated that The Willow is set to close “due to the breach of numerous Health and Safety measures”, including problems with the toilets and accessibility to the establishment.
The notification, announced yesterday, lists a total of 13 breaches of the official government regulations that apply to any licensed venue.
The stairs were listed as the most serious infringement, described as “dangerous in the case of fire” due to their narrow width and steepness. Concerns about disabled access were also highlighted.
In addition, both male and female toilets failed basic hygiene tests. Exposed wiring around the DJ booth and conditions of the kitchen areas were also uncovered in the health and safety report.
However, the nightclub’s permit to serve food was not withdrawn, and it could feasibly return to its restaurant roots if the other health and safety issues are rectified.
Due to the difficulty of correcting the problem with its stairway, however, many Willow enthusiasts may be disappointed that the nightclub will not be able to reopen at all.
Melissa Jones, a second-year Chemistry student, added: “I can’t believe we didn’t get to say goodbye. I know that sounds stupid, but the loss of Willow feels like the death of a friend. I’m genuinely quite upset by this. I’ll be holding a Willow memorial service next term for anyone who’s interested.”
Not all students are as disappointed by the closure of York’s most infamous club, however. One third-year History of Art student, Jessica Harte, recalled to Vision the time her friend slipped down the stairs, seriously bruising her coccyx:
“Literally no one cared and she was screaming in pain. It’s such a gross place, it’s about time someone sorted it out. I don’t really know why people care, how many of them can actually remember a night out in Willow anyway?”
HSE spokeswoman Lisa Forpol said in a statement: “We can confirm that The Willow Restaurant has been asked to close following a number of health and safety breaches at the premises. The venue will be closed indefinitely, until further notice.”
The Willow’s management were unavailable for comment on the issue.
Disclaimer: In case anyone is still in any doubt, this was an April Fool. The Willow will be open as usual.