Sheffield clubbers to march through Sheffield in bid to save Niche

Around 100 clubbers are set to march through Sheffield in a bid to save Niche.

Monday, 15th January 2018, 9:55 am
Updated Monday, 15th January 2018, 10:00 am
Niche, Walker Street, Sheffield

The future of the Walker Street based club is to be discussed by Sheffield Council's licencing committee next week after it was closed following an incident on Saturday, December 23.

Police chiefs called for its closure after five men, aged between 21 and 42, were found injured on the Wicker, with detectives believing the injuries may be connected to an earlier incident at Niche.

Niche opened in Sheffield in 1992 and its original Sydney Street venue became the birthplace of bassline music but it closed in 2005 after a drug raid and a number of attacks.

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

Niche then moved to the former Fez Club and Club Sutra on Charter Row in 2006 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.

The club moved to its new Walker Street venue last January.

March organiser David Blythen said it would be peaceful and would take clubbers past the Town Hall, where the licencing committee will discuss Niche next Thursday.

Clubbers will meet at Niche at 2pm and plan to end with a rally outside Snig Hill police station and Sheffield Magistrates' Court.

Mr Blythen said: "The whole purpose of the peaceful march is to show the people of Sheffield what we look like.

"People might have an image of the kind of people who go to Niche so this is an opportunity for people to make up their own minds.

"There is a lot of feeling around the possible closure of Niche and supporters of the club feel that they want to do this to try to save Niche."

He said some of the banners and placards will make reference to knife crime.

"Knife crime is an issue that affects the entire country, not just Sheffield. And it is not a nightclub problem, it happens everywhere," he said.

"My personal view is that the police should have a more visible presence outside the club when people are leaving like they do in the city centre.

"Niche is a bit further out but there should be no difference. It opens once every two weeks, so it's only 26 mornings out of 365 a year."