A NIGHTCLUB boss fears he may have to rent out all his premises because it is becoming too much of a struggle to keep them going.

Richard Shea, 44, owns five venues across Southend, and is still running three of them, but says it is becoming increasingly difficult to make a profit in the nightclub industry with increased competition and the tough economic climate.

The businessman, from Long Meadows, Brentwood, owns the freehold of Dick de Vigne’s club in Warrior Square, and Churchills, in Tylers Avenue, Southend, but both have been rented out to other operators.

He still owns and runs Mayhem, in Warrior Square, and Legends, formally Mansion, in Elmer Approach, both in Southend, as well as Tiger Lilly bar in Leigh Road, Leigh.

He said: “It is a very hard business.

It is so hard to get a successful club going nowadays– really, really hard.

“I have just rented out Churchills. We were running it, but could not make it work. Now someone else has come in to see if they can make it work better.

“Bars all over England have been closing during the recession, so we are doing better than that and are still working at it with the clubs and making them work. But there are a lot in the town.

“If someone came forward and wanted to take on the other clubs, I would consider it.”

Mr Shea’s main company is Shea Properties, which once had a portfolio worth £25million, but went into receivership in November 2010.

He also liquidated four limited companies in the same year, which were previously involved in running clubs Mayhem, Storm (now Mansion), Churchills and the now closed Escape in Colchester.

Despite his financial position, clubbers in south Essex will soon be able to get back to Element nightclub, in Alexandra Street, Southend.

Bosses at the venue have announced they want to hold a “massive re-launch party” in the near future, after it closed unexpectedly soon after the new year started.

The club is owned by Robin Levy, 69, from Southminster, who is also redeveloping the Bell Hotel site in Leigh.

A spokesman for the club said: “It is an excellent refurbishment and we are having new sound, lighting and dance podiums.

“The new VIP area upstairs is sponsored by Moet champagne and Belvedere Vodka.

“We will have a new management in place.

“It is very exciting.”

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