Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow's Arches to go into administration

The Arches
Image caption All events scheduled at the Glasgow venue have been cancelled

Glasgow's Arches venue is to go into administration after losing its nightclub licence.

The Arches board said there was "no other choice" after Glasgow Licensing Board's decision hit revenue by over 50%, making the business "untenable".

The licensing board imposed a midnight closing time after police complaints about drug and alcohol incidents.

The move was opposed by almost 40,000 people in an online petition and 400 arts figures in a letter of protest.

A statement from the Arches said: "Following a meeting of The Arches board of directors, and having taken due legal advice, the decision was taken today to start the process of appointing administrators for both Arches Theatre and Arches Retail Company Limited.

'Leading venue'

"This follows last month's decision by the Glasgow Licensing Board to curtail the licensed hours of the leading multi-arts venue, effectively preventing the organisation from continuing its very successful and popular programme of club nights.

"Without the income generated by this strand of activity, which generated over 50% of the companies' annual turnover, The Arches' business model is untenable."

The nightclub's licence was restricted to midnight by the licensing board. It had previously been allowed to stay open until 03:00.

Gordon Kennedy, chairman of the board of directors, said the decision was taken with "deep regret", but said they had been left with "no other choice".

Image caption The nightclub had previously been allowed to stay open until 03:00

Mr Kennedy also thanked those who had supported the campaign to reinstate the venue's licence, and said he had been "humbled by the hundreds of artists and industry professionals from all disciplines who have lent their signature and their voice to the cause".

He continued: "Our hope is that the administrators, working with partners and stakeholders, can salvage some of the activities for which The Arches is renowned."

The company's executive director Mark Anderson added: "We would like to gratefully acknowledge the invaluable contributions made by all staff, board, artists and partners over the years.

"We offer heartfelt thanks to our loyal customers who supported us throughout the years and were instrumental in making The Arches the iconic venue that it will always remain."

'Threat to public safety'

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: "We have been working with the Arches and other funders for some time to develop a sustainable model to provide a long term financial solution for the Arches to continue to operate.

"We remain committed to trying to identify opportunities for their work to go on."

Meanwhile a spokesman for Glasgow City Council's licensing board said the decision had come following evidence of "over 200 drug-related incidents detailed at the most recent hearing, as well as numerous call-outs to the ambulance service, which often related to people in life threatening situations".

A statement from the board said: "The continued operation of the Arches' late-hours licence threatened public safety, created a risk of crime and endangered the health of individuals.

"Unfortunately the conditions the Arches agreed to following the death of one of their customers did not curtail problems at the venue and the board had no option but to take further action.

"The financial situation of a premises can never be a factor in the decision making process of the board."

'Entirely avoidable'

Chief Supt Andy Bates, Police Scotland's divisional commander for Greater Glasgow, said: "Our primary role was to protect and ensure public safety and in our view the frequency and volume of incidents that were occurring at the Arches nightclub would have resulted in fatal consequences had we not acted.

"We remain committed to supporting and working with the licensing industry across Glasgow and Scotland to ensure a safe environment for the public."

On its website, the company said that all events scheduled at the Arches from Wednesday onwards would now be cancelled.

Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie said the loss of the venue was "entirely avoidable".

"I'm disappointed that the city council decided to force The Arches into this position, and I'm surprised that despite the wave of public support not one other Glasgow MSP saw fit to support my call for a rethink.

"It remains open to Glasgow, to the Scottish government, and to the arts community to try and find a new life for this important venue."

Last month, more than 400 cultural figures - including Makar Liz Lochhead, novelist Irvine Welsh and members of Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand - signed a letter criticising the licensing board's decision.

Image copyright Twitter

The letter stated: "The Arches' importance to the future of the cultural life of Scotland cannot be overstated, and yet this latest decision leaves it in an extremely compromised situation, the cultural ramifications of which are huge."

The online petition, which reached 39,239 signatures, claimed the loss of the nightclub licence would endanger the city's arts scene and economy. It also accused the police of "harassment".

Shortly after the news was announced "The Arches" began trending on twitter.

The Arches thanked Glasgow City Council for their support over the years tweeting: "THANK YOU @CreativeScots @GlasgowCC, all our staff & artists, and all of YOU for 25 years of support. #TeamArches"

Underground house DJ Bontan, who had previously headlined at the Arches, tweeted: "Absolutely gutted about The Arches. Ran by some of the soundest people you're likely to meet & an amazing venue."

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