Door closed on Gatecrasher's £5m superclub hopes

DESPITE a massive 14,000 people pledging their support, councillors in Sheffield have refused an application from Gatecrasher to open a £5m superclub in the city.

The original venue burned down in 2007 and, since then, those behind the iconic venue have been looking for a new site in which to reopen.

The club applied to take over the ground floor of the "cheese grater" car park in Charles Street – a site close to the original club which already has consent for a casino with a 6am licence – but this application was turned down yesterday because it might impact on city regeneration.

Councillors also said residents living in the adjacent 32-storey City Lofts building – which still has a third of its flats up for sale – could suffer from excessive noise in the early hours.

Chairman of Sheffield Council's city centre, south and east planning board John Hesketh said at the meeting at Sheffield Town Hall: "I would welcome Gatecrasher back into the city – its spiritual home – but this is not the right spot."

Objections had come from a number of prominent organisations such as Sheffield Hallam University, the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), Sheffield Theatres Trust, city development agency CreativeSheffield, law firm DLA Piper, City Lofts and the nearby o2 Academy.

The main objection was that it could impact on the Heart of the City regeneration scheme and deter businesses from opening in the area.

City Lofts claimed the club could "crush further sales" of its luxury apartments.

About 14,000 people, however, including DJs such as Trevor Nelson and Judge Jules, were strongly in favour.

Gatecrasher boss Simon Raine told yesterday's meeting the Charles Street site was suitable for delivering a "world-class" venue and added that the club could be an integral part of Sheffield's City of Culture bid.

He said there would be benefits to the local economy in terms of tourism and regeneration. Mr Raine also claimed there was little difference between the casino use, which already has planning consent, and using the building for a nightclub.

Just one of the councillors on the planning committee, Peter Price, voted in favour of Gatecrasher. He said: "I think it is a massive asset... The principle of a nightclub underneath that car park, I can't find any fault with."

Following the meeting, Mr Raine refused to say whether Gatecrasher would be appealing against the planning board's decision.