Licensing hours ruling closes club

Arches nightclub: ‘no choice but to appoint administrators’

ArchesTroubled Glasgow music venue The Arches has gone into administration after being told it would have to cut back its licensing hours.

The board of the venue said that after receiving legal advice it was left with no choice other than to appoint administrators for both Arches Theatre and Arches Retail Company. All events have been cancelled from today.

Glasgow Licensing Board last month imposed a midnight closing time on the popular nightclub after police complaints about drugs and alcohol related incidents. The club, which previously stayed open until 3am, generated more than half of its revenue.

The opening hours order was opposed by almost 40,000 people in an online petition, while 400 leading figures in the arts world, including novelist Irvine Welsh and members of Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand, signed a letter in protest.

A spokesman for Glasgow City Council’s licensing board said the decision had come following evidence of “over 200 drug-related incidents detailed at the most recent hearing, as well as numerous call-outs to the ambulance service, which often related to people in life threatening situations”.

Gordon Kennedy, Chairman of The Arches Board of Directors, said: “The board has taken professional advice and is left with no other choice than to begin the process of appointing administrators for both The Arches Theatre Ltd and Arches Retail Ltd.

“This decision has been taken with deep regret as it will have a major impact on our staff, business partners, customers, and on Glasgow’s reputation for night time economy.

“Our hope is that the administrators, working with partners and stakeholders, can salvage some of the activities for which The Arches is renowned.

“The Board sincerely thanks our staff, customers, supporters, performers and partners for their support over the years. This is a very sad day for The Arches and for the city of Glasgow.”

Mr Kennedy added: “We were disappointed and surprised at the outcome of the Licensing Board. The Arches has a zero tolerance approach to drugs and has cooperated with the Police over many years.

“For an unprecedented six years The Arches won gold standard under the Glasgow Community Safety/Strathclyde Police Best Bar None awards – recognition of best practice in maintaining safe and well-run premises. No other venue in Scotland has achieved that.

“We are very grateful to the almost 40,000 people who have signed and shared the petition to re-instate our licence and to everyone who has joined the #savethearches social media campaign. We are humbled by the hundreds of artists and industry professionals from all disciplines who have lent their signature and their voice to the cause.

“The Arches has its roots in the 1990 City of Culture and has since been recognised as one of the UK and Europe’s leading music venues, an internationally renowned arts and creative learning hub, and a venue for major corporate events such as last year’s MTV European Music Awards after party. It is one of Glasgow’s iconic venues.”

He continued: “The Arches as a multi-use space depends heavily on income from nightclub events. Given that the Licensing Board’s decision effectively prohibits this part of the business, it has become clear to us that The Arches in its current form is no longer viable.

“Since the decision we have been in discussions with partners Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council to explore whether a funding package could be put in place to allow us to continue in some form. That would have taken significant amounts of additional funding.

“Unfortunately, despite the very supportive approach of the partners for which we are extremely grateful, it has proved impossible to come up with a sustainable model in the very tight timescales available. We would like to thank the partners for their efforts to find a solution.”

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