A radio station director who DJ’d at many bars and clubs in Watford believes the closure of Pryzm is “disastrous” for the town’s nighttime economy.

Matt Cadman, who was the founder of Vibe 107.6 FM, entertained clubbers at Watford’s biggest nightclub when it was named Oceana during his spell working in the town from 2005 to around 2013.

Matt, who is now a director for Lite Radio, says he understands the need to build more housing but strongly objects to this being at the expense of Watford’s culture.

It was confirmed on Friday that Pryzm would be closing after failing to reach an agreement with the landlord. The venue has been on the market since October.

A plan for 147 homes on the site had previously been submitted but was rejected in July 2022 after hundreds of people objected and signed a petition to save Watford’s nightlife.

With Pryzm’s closure and the site on the market, it is feared the club could again be subject to a housing application.

Watford Observer: Matt Cadman used to DJ at OceanaMatt Cadman used to DJ at Oceana (Image: Matt Cadman)

Matt accepts there is a big shortage of housing in the country and said: “I’m very pro building, I think we need to be building more houses. Whenever you see moans about buildings being regenerated into flats, old banks or whatever, I’ve got no problem with that at all. Where I do have a problem is where you start to see elements of our culture being eroded with things being changed into flats or housing.”

Matt, who grew up in Reading, moved to Watford in 2005 and worked at most of the bars in High Street.

He said: “Throughout the whole time the nighttime economy in Watford had such a bounce about it. There was so much going on. You had the Horns which catered for an older generation, then you had the Colosseum disco party nights – those were always really popular.

“I DJ’d at Reflex, which was the 80’s bar, and Yates's for quite a few years and we had some great nights and to think that the key staple point of Watford’s nighttime economy is being closed down just at the flick of a switch is disastrous really.”

Matt is critical of the club’s landlord for not agreeing to keep the club open, but holds the Government ultimately responsible and not Watford Borough Council.

He said: “I think the landlord, in the nicest possible way, needs a good talking to. Obviously people like that are looking at it from a making money perspective. People should not be allowed to simply shut down Watford’s nighttime economy at a click of switch just to try and make a few bob.

“I think shame on the Government for bringing in legislation. I know the council in Watford always gets a lot of stick but it’s not anything to do with them, it’s central government that have enabled this to happen and they’re going to make it easier where places like hotels will be able to be converted from commercial into residential property.”

The Government announced in the summer that it was seeking to relax planning laws to allow commercial premises to be turned into living spaces.

Matt got to know the management at Oceana after Vibe was launched in 2011. That contact led him to going on to work at the Watford nightclub owner’s sister venue in Windsor – where he met his wife, Esha.

He reflected: “In a way that whole thing of being involved with Oceana was quite significant with how my life panned out from then because if I hadn’t got to deal with them and got the contact to get into Liquid Windsor, I wouldn’t have met my now wife.”