Jeremy Corbyn backs campaign to save 'fantastic' Leadmill from closure

Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has joined the campaign to save Sheffield's famous Leadmill venue.

The politician, who was in the city this week to appear at the Festival of Debate event, visited the Leadmill during his time in South Yorkshire and has now posted a video on social media backing the campaign and an associated petition to save it.

Mr Corbyn said: "I'm here in The Leadmill in Sheffield founded in the 1980s - a fantastic music venue, fantastic place for poetry, entertainment, education, everything.

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"It has given people a place to meet and a place to come together with fantastic musical events.

"It is now threatened with closure next year but none of us want it closed.

"Sign the petition, get behind it, get yourself active and save The Leadmill."

A petition designed to prevent the venue's management team being evicted next year by the building's owners has currently been signed by 33,000 people and will be considered for a Parliamentary debate if it reaches 100,000 signatures.

The petition calls for a suspension of a section of the Landlord and Tenant Act.

Jeremy Corbyn has become the latest high-profile name to back the campaign to save The Leadmill venue in Sheffield.

It is seeking for the suspension to result in stopping tenant evictions until an already announced Government review of the full Act has finished.

The Government has already provided an initial response to the petition, saying it has "no plans" to take such action.

The response from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said that it was not prepared to intervene in advance of an already-announced review of the overall Landlord and Tenant Act.

"The Government has no plans to suspend Section 25 of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954, part II at this time. Suspension of Section 25 would not be a proportionate way of addressing the underlying issues with the legislation," it said.

"DLUHC is aware of concerns that the current commercial property legislation has not kept pace with the reality of the sector today. That is why, in December 2020, the Government committed to launching a review of the landlord and tenant relationship and the legislation surrounding it.

"Review of the commercial leasehold legislation will inform a new framework to support more efficient and flexible uses of space across high streets and town centres. The full scope of the review is yet to be confirmed; further details will be announced in due course. As such, the Government cannot support further intervention in the commercial property market until the review has delivered its recommendations."

A massive campaign to save the music venue in its current form has been backed by the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Jarvis Cocker after the current management revealed they are due to be kicked out in March next year - a move they say will spell the end of The Leadmill.

The owners of the building, a London company called Electric Group, had denied the management change would result in the venue closing and said they intended to invest in the facility. Electric Group’s website describes the company as a joint venture between chief executive Dominic Madden and Jake Lewis, whose family own the River Island retail chain.

The company said it had purchased The Leadmill freehold in 2017, making it the landlord for leaseholder Phil Mills.

Mr Madden said in a recent interview he had taken legal advice on retaining the existing name which he said he hoped to keep as the Leadmill is a “music institution”.

But the club’s management have said they own the Leadmill name and brand and “without us there is no Leadmill”.

In a statement, they said: “It is the hard-working, dedicated and local family of staff that have put 42 years’ worth of their blood, sweat and tears into making it the cultural asset it is today.”

It recently emerged that on February 3 this year, Music Venues Limited, which has Mr Madden as a director and operates from the same building as the Electric Group, filed a trademark request for the name Electric Sheffield.Other trademarks registered to Music Venues Ltd include Electric Brixton, the company’s existing venue in London, and NX, the name of the new venue it plans to open in Newcastle on the site of the former O2 Academy venue in the city.

Companies House accounts show Music Venues Ltd became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Electric Group Holdings Ltd in June 2020, having previously been a subsidiary of Electric Group Ltd.

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