‘CATASTROPHIC’ CLOSURE – HOME BOSS SPEAKS

The club's owners describe its closure as "catastrophic" and blast the "draconian" measures taken to revoke its dancing licence...

The closure of HOME nightclub in LONDON after an undercover police raid last weekend has been described as “catastrophic” by the superclub’s founder RON McCULLOCH.

And he said the future of the company could be called into question in the coming weeks, as they appeal against the club’s loss of licence.

Speaking at a press conference at the club in London’s Leicester Square tonight (March 30), the Home chief executive said: “During the last 25 years, I’ve operated safe and successful venues throughout the UK and indeed Sydney, Australia. Throughout this period, our company has established an exemplary reputation.

“It is undoubtedly a catastrophic setback for the organisation,” he said. A statement issued at a hastily-prepared press conference earlier this evening read: “Management and staff of Home regret that due to action taken by Westminster Council, the club will be unable to open until further notice. The City Council has closed one of London’s finest clubs using emergency procedures which commenced on Wednesday afternoon (March 28).” The statement continued that a police codeworded operation, which resulted in the arrest of one person alleged to be supplying drugs – who was, according to the statement, found with 16 [ecstasy] pills – and another suspected of intent to supply. Eight officers were reported to have been involved in the operation.

The statement said that this, according to the officers involved, demonstrated a “serious drug problem which could have only been remedied by closure of the premises.”

He said that evidence provided by Westminster City Council in revoking the club’s entertainment licence – effectively banning it from playing music – did not merit the measures taken and added that the club has clearly indicated that it has a “commitment to running a quality establishment.

“I am bitterly disappointed the sub-committee did not share this view,” he added. “I am of the opinion that the staff and management of the venue have demonstrated their support to the Metropolitan Police.” He cited an example of management effecting four out of the total six arrests in relationship to drugs at the club in the last three months.

When asked what the cost of the closure would be to the club, McCulloch replied: “A fortune… we haven’t worked it out but notwithstanding fixed costs, there are also staffing implications. It’s an enormous cost to the business. It is extremely damaging to the company. Whether we will survive or not will be decided in the next week or two.”

In relation to the Homelands festival, which is scheduled to take be the first major fixture in the UK festival calendar, taking place in May, McCulloch said: “It is a different environment. There are some similarities [[between the club and festival, which takes place in Winchester and last year had sister festivals in Scotland and Ireland]] but I hope it doesn’t have a knock-on effect.”

The 1,775-capacity Home club is a major attraction for tourists and clubbers alike, and their Christmas event this year was headlined by Chemical Brothers. It has in the past suffered licensing difficulties, being unable to obtain a licence past 3am on New Year’s Eve and at its birthday celebrations.

nmedance.com editor John Hall commented: “To single out such a high-profile club as this makes me wonder whether an example is being made. Club promoters all around the country should be concerned at this development.”

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