Landlord of disputed city music venue granted shadow licence

The owner of Sheffield live music venue The Leadmill, which is at the centre of a long-running dispute between the owner and the club’s operators, has been granted a shadow premises licence.

Sheffield City Council approved the application by MVL Properties, the landlord of the club, saying it had demonstrated it could “uphold all four of the licensing objectives”.

The council licensing committee permission allows a second party to run the venue under this “shadow licence” if the current premises licence were to be revoked or surrendered.

The venue, on the edge of the city centre near the main railway station, was bought by Electric Group in 2017, who in 2022 served an eviction notice on the tenants and operators – The Leadmill Ltd.

Sheffield City Council’s licensing committee meeting follows an ongoing dispute between the club’s operators – Phil Mills and The Leadmill Ltd – and Electric Group, run by Dominic Madden.

The Leadmill Ltd has claimed the venue would “no longer exist” if they are forced out of the property and has been mounting a public “Save the Leadmill” campaign. Madden, however, told the BBC the venue was “incredibly important [and] it’s not going anywhere.”

Councillor Tom Hunt, leader of Sheffield City Council, today said: “The Leadmill is much-loved and has hosted some of the world’s best bands. It holds an important place in our city’s music scene, and I know many residents have very special memories of The Leadmill.

“The application for a shadow licence was approved because the council’s Licensing Sub Committee found the applicants demonstrated they could uphold all four of the licensing objectives.

“As a statutory Licensing Authority, the council has a legal duty to be fair, unbiased and treat each licence application the same. The application for a shadow licence for ‘The Leadmill’ by MVL Properties 2017 Ltd was treated impartially and the case was considered on its own merits.

“I’d like to reassure residents that the premises licence held by The Leadmill’s management team remains valid and the venue is able to remain open and run as normal.”

Since it opened in 1980 the venue has hosted performances from acts such as Coldplay, Oasis, Arctic Monkeys and The Stone Roses.