The Leadmill Sheffield: Landlord applies for 'shadow' licence in battle over future of famous music venue
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The Leadmill's 20-year lease expired on March 25 this year but the famous city centre club is still operating as normal, despite the freeholder Electric Group having announced plans last year to take over running the building and invest in its future as a live music venue.
Electric Group’s CEO Dominic Madden and the team at The Leadmill, which opened on Leadmill Road in 1980 and has staged legendary gigs by the likes of Pulp, the Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay and Oasis, have been tight-lipped in recent months over their next steps. But The Star can reveal that a licensing application has now been submitted by a company called MVL Properties 2017 Ltd, of which Mr Madden is listed by Companies House as being the sole director.
It has applied for a ‘shadow’ premises licence, which is the term given to a licence for the same venue for which a licence has already been granted to another party. The application is for the same 24/7 opening hours as the existing licence which was granted to The Leadmill Ltd, with the designated premises supervisor Ian Lawlor, in 2016. Sheffield Council’s website states that the new application was received on April 5 and the deadline for any representations is May 3.
The Leadmill remains open, with dozens of music gigs lined up between now and January 18, 2024, including performances by Reverend and the Makers, former Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes, and Teenage Fanclub. Last month, an industry insider told The Star they believed a deal had probably been struck between The Leadmill and Electric Group to keep it running as normal for now, but if there was any such agreement the licensing application suggests the freeholder still plans to take over running the venue.
Electric Group bought the building from MCR Properties in 2017 for £600,000 and The Leadmill revealed last year that it had been told it would have to leave when its lease expired. Mr Madden has told The Star about his plans to take over the building and spend around £1 million refurbishing it to protect its long-term future as a live music venue.
More than 46,000 people signed a petition launched by The Leadmill last year to prevent its eviction, and stars including the Arctic Monkeys have backed the venue’s #WeCantLoseLeadmill campaign. The Leadmill’s general manager Ian Lawlor told The Star in April last year how the team there planned to strip the venue back to the ‘derelict flour mill’ they took over if they were evicted.
The Leadmill describes itself as Sheffield’s longest running live music venue and nightclub. In August last year, Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker joined Richard Hawley on stage there to show his support for The Leadmill. In a message directed at the building’s freeholder, he said ‘they may own the bricks and mortar, but they don't own the spirit of The Leadmill’.
The Star has contacted both The Leadmill and Electric Group regarding the licensing application but has yet to receive any response from either party.