Glasgow’s The Arches goes into administration

Administrators are to be appointed for The Arches following the forced closure of its nightclub.
The Arches has been forced into administration. Picture: John DevliThe Arches has been forced into administration. Picture: John Devli
The Arches has been forced into administration. Picture: John Devli

Management said they were “left with no other choice” after licensing bosses in Glasgow ruled last month that the venue will have to close at midnight every day over a series of police complaints about drug misuse and disorder.

At the time, club bosses said it could lead to the closure of venue as a whole, which also includes arts venues, theatre space, a restaurant and a cafe.

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The nightclub generated more than half of The Arches’ annual turnover but early closing times have made the business model “untenable”.

Bosses said they would appeal against the licensing board’s decision and had been discussing funding with Creative Scotland and Glasgow City Council, but it had “proved impossible to come up with a sustainable model in the very tight timescales”.

All events scheduled at The Arches have now been cancelled from today.

Management hope administrators can “salvage some of the activities for which The Arches is renowned”.

Gordon Kennedy, chairman of The Arches board of directors, said: “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.

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“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.

“We were disappointed and surprised at the outcome of the licensing board. The Arches has a zero-tolerance approach to drugs and has co-operated with the police over many years.”

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Thousands of people signed a petition calling for the reinstatement of its licence and a group of 400 creative voices, including author Irvine Welsh, members of Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian and Franz Ferdinand, also signed an open letter calling on the Government and creative bodies to ensure The Arches remains as an arts venue.

Police raised licensing issues last year after the drugs-related death of 17-year-old Regane MacColl at the club and a number of other incidents.

The club agreed to implement a number of measures and it remained open, but issues were raised again recently.

Mr Kennedy said the nightclub had been recognised with a series of safety awards in recent years.

He added: “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.”

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The venue’s artistic director Lucy Mason said: “The atmosphere and architecture of The Arches have helped to shape and define a generation of enquiring and vital artists.

“It’s shocking that this building which has inspired such creativity, devotion and ambition should cease to exist as an arts venue.

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“The Arches has developed an international reputation as a producer and programmer of distinctive performance, providing opportunities for artists at all stages of their career to experiment and hone their practice.

“Without The Arches, the radical energy at the heart of Scotland’s theatre-making community will be greatly diminished and the future for many individual artists suddenly feels very uncertain.”