Campaign launched to save Sheffield nightclub at risk of closure

A campaign has been launched to save a Sheffield nightclub at risk of closure over a knife attack which detectives believe may be linked to the venue.

Thursday, 11th January 2018, 7:18 am
Updated Friday, 12th January 2018, 7:20 am
Niche nightclub on Walker Street

Niche on Walker Street, off Derek Dooley Way, has been closed since Saturday, December 23, when five men, aged between 21 and 42, were found injured on the Wicker.

Detectives believe the injuries may be connected to an earlier incident at Niche.

A review of the club's licence is to be held by Sheffield Council's licensing committee later this month.

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Supporters of Niche plan to stage a march and demonstration outside the Town Hall on the day of the review.

Club bosses have issued a statement on Niche's Facebook page and claim a permanent closure would be 'a clear attack' on the club based on 'the reputation' of its name rather than the operation of the new venue, which opened in January last year.

Niche was launched in Sheffield in 1992 and its original Sydney Street venue became the birthplace of bassline music, attracting clubbers from across the country but it closed in 2005 after a drug raid and a series of attacks.

In 1998, club owner Steve Baxendale's brother, Michael Baxendale, was stabbed to death outside the venue in an attack in which two bouncers were also knifed.

There were also shootings at the club.

In 2006, Niche moved to the former Fez Club and Club Sutra on Charter Row and the venue was renamed The Vibe. It became Niche again in 2009 but closed the following year after more violence in and around the club.

Niche moved to Walker Street in January last year.

A club spokesman said: "To be clear, the management are confident there were no knives inside Niche and this stabbing did not take place inside Niche.

"There was an isolated incident in Niche which was very quickly dealt with and all people involved were ejected straight away. Violence of any type is not tolerated in the club and never has been. A safe environment for our guests is of paramount importance.

"The police investigation is ongoing and some arrests have been made. The facts of the case are yet to confirmed by South Yorkshire Police as to when and where any injuries were suffered. Again, we are confident no one was stabbed or hurt inside the venue.

"Niche has fully co-operated with the investigation and wish to see the perpetrators of this crime brought to justice as soon as possible.

"We feel all of our cooperation and help has been completely disregarded.

"The new Niche has now been open 12 months and in that time we have met with South Yorkshire Police and no issues have been raised with regards to the operation of the club."

The statement thanked clubbers for their support.

It reads: "Together we may just make enough noise to be heard by the right people and given a fair trial.

"Once again we would like to thank you all for your good luck wishes and your continued support. Your support is vital, has not gone unnoticed and gives us the confidence that we are fighting for something that is really special to us all. We will always be grateful for it."