Lancashire

Dreamboys petition put Preston's Guild Hall into administration

The Dreamboys Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Dreamboys were booked for an appearance at the venue in 2018

A winding-up petition by strippers The Dreamboys pushed the debt-ridden Guild Hall in Preston into administration, a report has revealed.

The administrators revealed the company in charge of the venue had debts of about £4.5m and owed more than £112,000 to ticket holders and £66,000 to staff.

There were also outstanding payments due to the strippers, club night Bongo's Bingo and rock band The Cribs.

The firm's boss Simon Rigby said no-one had lost more on the venue "than me".

The venue closed in May and Preston City Council took back ownership in June, following a dispute over unpaid business rates.

According to the report, the company owes the council more than £240,000.

Mr Rigby said if he had been allowed to reopen, his company had "planned to honour all advanced sales by either delivering the show or refunding the ticket money".

He added that he hoped the venue would return to being a "massive" operation "one day soon".

Image copyright Google
Image caption The venue closed in May and was brought under council control in June

The director's statement of affairs within the report showed total unsecured liabilities stand at £4,505,520 - including claims totalling £66,159 from employees for redundancy and unpaid wages.

The administrator said it was "unlikely" there would be sufficient assets to pay ordinary unsecured creditors, adding that "the company's liabilities were so significant", the scope for any interested party taking responsibility for the venue "was nil".

Other creditors included butchers Clifton Quality Meats, theatre producers Bill Kenwright Ltd, communities charity Cash for Kids and Lancashire County Council.

Mr Rigby bought the building from the council in 2014 for the sum of £1, pledging to invest £1m.

The venue first opened in 1972 and has hosted star turns such as David Bowie and Queen, as well as once being the regular home of the UK Snooker Championships.

Preston City Council leader Matthew Brown said the decision to reclaim the hall was agreed "in the best interests of the city and the council".

"Unfortunately, Preston City Council is among the number of creditors owed a significant amount of money," he added.

"As this is taxpayers' money, we are actively considering reasonable means to recover this money owed [and] hope a resolution will soon be found."

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