The Leadmill Sheffield: More than 180 people have say on licence in fight over famous music venue's future
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Sheffield City Council today confirmed that it has received 183 representations to date over the application for a ‘shadow’ licence by MVL Properties 2017 Ltd for the club on Leadmill Road in the city centre. The deadline for people to have their say is midnight (Wednesday, May 24). The council did not confirm how many of those representations were objecting to the licensing application and how many, if any, were in support.
The Leadmill’s operators had urged supporters to object to the application, which would not affect The Leadmill’s existing licence but mirrors what is in place on that licence and would give MVL Properties the right to operate licensed activities at the venue.
The Leadmill’s 20-year leasehold expired on March 25 this year and Electric Group, which bought the freehold to the property in 2017 for £600,000, has told how it wants to take over running the premises and maintain it as a music venue. Electric Group’s CEO Dominic Madden is the director of MVL Properties.
The battle for the soul of The Leadmill began in spring 2022 when the existing operators announced that their landlords planned to evict them when the lease expired. The Leadmill is continuing to operate as normal for now, with events lined up into next year, and a number of bands have backed the current operators’ campaign to ‘save’ the venue, including Def Leppard, who recently played a special gig there.
What has Sheffield City Council said about the licensing application for The Leadmill?
A Sheffield City Council spokesperson said yesterday: “As of today (23/05/23) the Licensing Service has received 183 representations on application no 210582 by MVL Properties 2017 Ltd for Leadmill, 6-7 Leadmill Road.
“With regards how this will be decided, if the council considers that the representations are valid, then a hearing will be held to consider those representations, unless all parties can come to an agreement beforehand and agree that a hearing is unnecessary.”
Electric Group already runs the Electric Brixton, SWX Bristol and NX Newcastle music venues and Mr Madden has spoken of his plans to invest heavily in The Leadmill and become a ‘great custodian of the venue for the next generation’. In 20 years of running licensed venues, he said, the company has ‘never had any issue or licence review’.
But the existing operators of The Leadmill, which opened in 1980 and has staged legendary gigs by the likes of Pulp, the Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay and Oasis, have claimed that if they are evicted ‘this would result in The Leadmill ceasing to exist after 43 years’. The operators have said that their landlords have already issued them with an eviction notice.
It is not known at this stage when a licensing meeting will be held, if necessary. Nor is it not known exactly what steps Electric Group has taken so far to evict the current operators from the building. The Star has approached both The Leadmill and Electric Group but neither has responded.