The new owners of premises that The Leadmill in Sheffield operate from have responded to the venue’s fresh appeal for support of their anti-eviction campaign.
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The premises is owned by Electric Group — who also own London’s Electric Brixton, Bristol’s SWX and Newcastle’s NX. They bought the site’s freehold in 2017 and previously told music fans that they had no intention of closing the venue when they end the current occupiers’ lease in 2023. “The management may change but the song stays the same,” Dominic Madden, CEO and co-founder of Electric Group, wrote on Twitter.
The management, however, hit back, arguing that they were being “exterminated by the landlord”.
— The Leadmill (@Leadmill) May 17, 2023
Now, Madden has issued a fresh statement in response. “We have owned the Leadmill premises since 2017. With the current lease coming to an end, Electric Group has applied for a licence application as part of the transition process,” he said.
“As we have always maintained, we intend to continue operating the space as a music venue, focussing on a diverse mix of gigs, club nights and comedy events. We’re an independent music venue operator which is committed to music and investing in venues. We have been running licensed venues since 2003 and have never had any issue or license review.
“Our venues in London, Newcastle and Bristol host hundreds of gigs and events every year for thousands of music fans. Our team has many years of experience running venues, producing theatre and promoting gigs. When we purchased the freehold for the Leadmill in 2017 it was threatened with redevelopment into flats. We didn’t want that to happen, so we stepped in to buy it and save it – something the leaseholder was not prepared to do.”
It went on: “The current Leadmill campaign is unfortunately misleading people into thinking we want to close the venue with no regard for its history. That is not the case. In fact, we want to invest in the future of the space – albeit one which will mark the start of a new chapter for a building which has many generations of history with a variety of different operators since it was first a flour mill.
“We hope to be a great custodian of the venue for the next generation. We recognise the roots of the Leadmill within the community and we are determined to see it succeed and thrive.”
Posting on The Leadmill’s website, management wrote that the “general public are able to object to a premises licence application if they are aware of any relevant reasons as to why it should not be granted”.
The Charlatans‘ Tim Burgess was among musicians to tell NME of his fondness for the venue, sharing: “Sheffield is such a hugely important city for music, and The Leadmill is the lynchpin venue for so much that happens.”