The Leadmill Sheffield: Tenants launch petition to Parliament to stop eviction from famous music venue

The Leadmill’s operators are petitioning Parliament to stop them from being evicted from the famous Sheffield music venue.

Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 4:20 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th April 2022, 4:20 pm

Support continues to pour in for the iconic Sheffield club after the building’s landlord, Electric Group, announced plans to take over operations when the 20-year lease expires in March 2023.

In the past two weeks, the business has described the move as an effort to ‘bank on The Leadmill’s name and good will’.

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The tenants of The Leadmill are petitioning the Government to stop them from being evicted from their venue by suspending the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Now, general manager of the venue Ian Lawlor has launched a petition asking the Government to intervene – in a roundabout way.

He is calling for No 10 to unilaterally suspend Section 25 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 – which, broadly, covers how landlords can terminate a tenancy by serving a notice.

The petition reads: “Section 25 of the Act can be exploited by Landlords, allowing them to expropriate the investment the Tenant has made into the premises, including any goodwill developed over many years.

"We are calling for a suspension of Section 25 (Grounds C to) [sic.], so that tenants cannot be evicted until a Government review has been concluded, and any reforms implemented.”

The petition is asking the Government to suspend section 25 of the Landlord and Tenants Act 1954, which broadly is what governs how landlords can serve notice on tenants to leave by a certain date.

The petition was shared on the venue’s Twitter account, with followers told to ‘help save The Leadmill from eviction by our landlord’.

It gained more than 5,000 signatures in the first four hours.

The Government is bound to respond to the petition if it reaches 10,000 signatures, and it will be considered for a debate at 100,000.

The petition comes after the Government announced a review of the 1954 act in December 2020, with a promise to get started in 2021. However, there have been little to no updates since then.

Mr Lawlor has told The Star the business intends to “leave the venue a derelict flour mill” if it is made to leave in March 2023 as it ‘owns everything from the fixtures to the doors’.

Electric Group, which owns clubs in Brixton, Bristol and Newcastle, bought the venue’s freehold in 2017 for an estimated £600,000. It says it is ‘absurd and disingenuous’ to say the venue is closing and that it aims to invest £1m.

It has also denied intending to change the name of the venue, despite registering the name ‘Electric Sheffield’ with the Government in February.