A TOWN centre bar which underwent a £500,000 refurbishment a year ago has closed unexpectedly.

Vetro bar, in Western Road, Billericay, remained closed over the weekend, more than a year after the revamp.

Bewildered residents only discovered the champagne and cocktail bar was closed when they saw a sign stuck in the window.

Neighbour Lauren Baines, 18, who lives in Western Road, said it had only been opening sporadically since the new year.

She said: “It has been shut for the last few weeks.

“It opened on New Year’s Eve, but it’s hardly been open since.

It’s not open in the week any more, but when it was, no one went in there.

“It has been quiet recently and is not as busy as a normal club would be.”

The nightspot opened in November 2012 after an extensive refurbishment estimated to have cost £550,000.

It was transformed from Stewarts Wine Bar, which had attracted noise complaints.

The revamp included tinted windows, designer lighting and materials imported from Italy.

The venue also included a VIP bar, lounge area, main bar area and an al fresco dining terrace.

Joyce Scott, 79, who also lives in Western Road, added: “I was shocked to hear it had closed, but it’s in the wrong place at the wrong end of the High Street.”

Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, added: “Everything is still in the bar for all to see, it looks like they have just upped and left, it’s very strange.

“It did look quiet over Christmas, but they spent a fortune on it, so it’s very sad.

“There was such a hoo-hah about it when it opened, but it’s been quiet since they took over.”

The Echo tried to contact the owners of the bar, but they had not responded by the time we went to press.