Gatecrasher boss to appeal £5m venue rejection

THE boss of superclub Gatecrasher has pledged to fight Sheffield Council after it rejected plans for a £5 million venue below a city centre car park.

Simon Raine, managing director of the world-renowned night spot, said he would appeal after councillors decided his plans would put city centre regeneration schemes at risk.

The planning board decision flew in the face of public opinion, after nearly 15,000 people registered their support for the club's return to the city - the original Matilda Street venue having burned down in 2007.

More than 3,800 supporters directly contacted Sheffield Council to back the plans to develop an empty space below the 'cheesegrater' car park on the corner of Charles Street and Arundel Gate, and 11,000 joined a Facebook campaign.

But councillors said having a 2,000-capacity club in the heart of the city centre would place prominent developments at risk - including the 32-storey St Paul's Tower scheme.

Mr Raine said: "Gatecrasher is still intent on returning to the city - it's where we belong. We are most disappointed for the 15,000 people who backed us but we refuse to be beaten and will return to the city. The party is not over.

"We have exactly the same goal as the council - to put Sheffield firmly on the map in terms of world-class entertainment. I find it hard to believe Sheffield will find another tenant for a 30,000 sq ft underground car park."

Council officers said they would welcome the club's return to the city, and staff were ready to help Mr Raine find a more suitable site.

But a Gatecrasher spokeswoman said when club bosses tried to contact officers before the meeting they had "met brick walls".

She said it was 'unacceptable" that the planning application, which cost 70,000 and took several months to compile, was given only 30 minutes at the planning meeting.

Phil Abbott, head of planning, said: "We definitely want to see Gatecrasher back in Sheffield where it belongs. Charles Street isn't suitable."

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