The Leadmill: Tenants say they will turn the place back to ‘an abandoned flour mill’ if evicted

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Support continues to pour in from across the music scene to ‘rescue’ the club in its current form after its future was thrown into question last week.

The venue’s owner, The Electric Group, has given notice of the current management team and will take over management of the club next year, with plans to invest £1m and preserve the building as a what a place of music.

Its head of music, Mike Weller, said in a statement that it was “absurd and dishonest” to say the venue was closing, in addition to closing for “a quick cleanup.”

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The team behind Sheffield’s iconic Leadmill – popular with Derbyshire music fans – said they would turn the venue back to ‘an abandoned flour mill’ if they were evicted.

But it seems that the current tenants have their own opinion on this.

Leadmill chief executive Ian Lawlor said the group intended to take everything “from light fixtures to doors” as they set off and leave the premises “an abandoned flour mill”.

“They keep saying the Leadmill will carry on, the Leadmill will be safe,” Mr Lawlor said.

“The Leadmill will not continue – The Leadmill is us, the staff and all the devices. We will take everything with us, because we own it – the fixtures, the equipment, the doors.

“When we leave, it will be an abandoned flour mill, and that’s what they’ll have left.

“They will have to start from scratch, it will take them a year to set it up and make it work.”

In a statement, Mr Weller claimed the operator of The Leadmill offered to buy full ownership of the venue in 2015 for £150,000 but was turned down, in which case Electric Group finalized a deal in 2017.

“That’s what I said when people ask ‘why didn’t you buy the building? “, Mr. Lawlor said. “That is not a question. That’s not the point.

“There are thousands of empty buildings they could have bought, but they chose the Leadmill to bank our name and our goodwill. They pull it under our noses.

“We have a long history of landlords over the age of 43 staying in the background to collect their rent, and we had no reason to think anyone would do this to us.”

Mr Weller’s statement ended: “We are also happy to engage with all staff to ensure they are protected as well.”

Mr Lawlor dismissed this, saying: ‘One thing I have seen the owners repeatedly is that they ‘just replace management’ as if it were just four or five people They claim that the staff will be protected and they are just replacing the management, when in reality more than 100 people will lose their jobs.

“We plan to take it all away when we leave and it will take a year for things to pick up again. Will they protect those jobs in the meantime?”

Mr Lawlor declined to comment when asked what day the team received the eviction notice.

Dozens of music stars and members of the public have pledged their support for the #WeCantLoseLeadmill campaign.

Electric Group operates other concert halls across the UK. It grew out of the success of its refurbishment of the Brixton fridge as the Brixton Electric and is set to relaunch the O2 Academy in Newcastle as an independent ‘NX’ venue.

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