LONDON ASTORIA FUTURE HANGS IN BALANCE

The famous venue has its entertainment licence renewal refused...

One of the country’s most famous music venues, the LONDON ASTORIA, has had its entertainment licence renewal refused.

A spokesperson for Westminster Council told NME.COM today (October 24) that the owners of the venue have appealed against the decision.

In a statement, a Council spokesman cited “public safety” as the reason for the refusal.

The statement reads: “The Licensing sub committee refused the renewal of the London Astoria’s annual weekday and Sunday music and dancing licence and a restricted films licence.

“The committee was not satisfied that the licensees had done enough to ensure public safety at the venue, particularly in light of the shooting on the 30th October 2001…

“The failure of the licensees to implement appropriate measures to prevent (the) large number of public safety breaches alarmed the committee and was the primary reason that the licensees were seen as unfit to hold their license and therefore the renewal was refused.”

The statement makes reference to the shooting at the venue during a private So Solid Crew party last year. The band released a statement at the time, distancing themselves from the incident, saying they were “not in anyway involved” in the disturbance, where two men were injured.

Mean Fiddler, who own the venue, have issued their own statement, which reads: “Mean Fiddler Music Group will make an immediate appeal against the Westminster City Council decision to refuse the renewal of the licence for the Astoria Theatre. The appeal will be lodged immediately to the Magistrates Court. The decision to refuse was clearly a surprise and appears to be based on the activities associated with the firearms incident in the club in October 2001. However, both the council’s own Health and Safety Team and The Metropolitan Police investigated the incident and the changes we have made ensure a similar incident does not reoccur…

“We are confident a Magistrate would have a more objective view and would approve the renewal. Trading at the venue will be unaffected. Licensing Law allows for continued trading for a fourteen-day period during which an appeal can be lodged and continued trading up to and during the appeal. An identical procedure is in place for appeals to the Crown Court in the event of the Magistrates decision not going our way. The appeal to the Magistrates, though lodged immediately, is not expected to be heard until February and we are extremely positive that this…will be overturned.”

Alongside Brixton Academy, the London Astoria on Charing Cross Road is one of the most popular music venues in the city, with both fans and bands.

The venue itself has been used exclusively for live music for over a decade. Literally thousands of bands have played there in that time, including U2, Nirvana, Coldplay, [a][/a], Oasis, Blur and The Strokes. It also close to the heart of NME, as we hold our annual residency of shows there at the start of each year.