Sheffield Leadmill: Landlords say venue won't close

Image caption,
The club opened in 1980 and has since hosted many internationally renowned artists

Landlords of a beloved music venue have pledged that it will not close down.

Managers at Sheffield's Leadmill said on Thursday that owners Electric Group had served an eviction notice ordering them to quit the building next March.

But the group said there was "never any question" of it closing and it would be refurbished at the end of the current agreement in March 2023.

In a response, venue bosses said they owned its name and brand, adding: "Without us there is no Leadmill"

The legendary music venue opened its doors in 1980 and has hosted artists including Pulp, Coldplay, The Stone Roses and Oasis.

Bands, comedians and past gig-goers rushed to voice their support on social media after its managers announced they had been served notice to quit in a year's time.

Yorkshire's Kaiser Chiefs recalled playing the club in their early days, saying they had "very fond memories" and losing the Leadmill would be a loss for "the whole UK music scene".

In a statement to the BBC, a spokesperson from the Brixton-based Electric Group, which also owns and runs venues in London, Bristol and Newcastle, said it would oversee "a substantial investment" in the venue once the current tenant had gone.

Mike Weller, from the group, said: "The refurb will make the room better-equipped to accommodate the modern wants of live music and club nights, for audiences and performers."

His colleague Dominic Madden tweeted that, as landlords, they were "music people" and the Leadmill would continue "as a special music venue".

"The management may change but the song stays the same," he said.

Image caption,
The Leadmill criticised the landlords' actions in a statement on social media

In a response posted on Twitter, Leadmill management said the eviction order amounted to an "extermination" of the club's hard-won reputation.

"Millions of pounds have been spent by the Leadmill (not the landlord) on the fabric of what was once a derelict building", they said.

"It is the hard-working, dedicated and local family of staff that have put 42 years' worth of their blood, sweat and tears into making it the cultural asset it is today.

"Everything that people love about it would be gone."

'Cultural heritage'

Sheffield City Council said the Leadmill was an "iconic" part of its history and it did not want to see it go.

Executive director Kate Martin said, the authority had been working with the venue in recent weeks but had limited powers and could not "directly intervene in the legal process" between landlord and tenant.

Meanwhile, five Sheffield MPs have written to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries asking for an urgent meeting to discuss how to save the venue.

In the letter, they said: "It is an essential part of the UK's cultural heritage and an asset to our creative industries, which we cannot lose."

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