Scores of jobs are at risk after the owner of Brighton’s biggest nightclub collapsed with debts of £85 million.

Luminar, the owner of Oceana as well as Project, formerly Tru, Creation, Paradox and the Pink Coconut, in West Street, called on clubbers to “use us or lose us” after it slid into administration yesterday (October 27).

Oceana, the firm’s flagship venue, has a capacity of 2,500 people and employs 96 staff while Project can hold 1,450 people and employs 20 staff.

The firm also owns Liquid in Station Way, Crawley, which has a capacity of 1,900 and employs approximately 45 staff, as well as Kings nightclub in Eastbourne.

Luminar has been fighting to stay afloat since the economic downturn hit, with 18 to 24-year-olds, its biggest group of customers, having been particularly affected by the surge in unemployment across the country.

The ban on smoking and the extension of pub hours have also hurt club operators.

Claire Ottewell, chair of the Brighton and Hove Tourism Alliance, said losing such highly-visible, mass-market venues in the heart of the city would leave a gap not only in the city’s seafront but also in the tourism sector’s overall offering for both visitors and residents.

She said: “The nighttime economy is incredibly important to businesses in the city generating £400 million each year and employing many local people.

"There is a massive knock-on effect to retailers, hotels, attractions and transport providers.”

Both Oceana and Project will continue to trade.