23rd Sep, 2019

Council investigating destruction inside The Assembly following shock closure

Ian Hughes 7th Jun, 2019 Updated: 7th Jun, 2019

DAMAGE caused to The Assembly following its shock closure is being investigated by Warwick District Council.

The MJR Group which ran the Leamington music venue announced on Wednesday it was shutting its doors immediately due to spiralling costs.

But within hours photographs emerged showing a trail of destruction inside the grade II listed building, including smashed stair and balcony rails and the bar ripped apart.

With the art deco Spencer Street building being of historic importance the district council was quick to respond.

A spokeswoman told the Observer: “Enforcement Officers from Warwick District Council have visited The Assembly as the building is a listed property and our investigation is continuing.”

The MJR Group – which took over the venue three years ago – say the damage was caused by ‘an overzealous contractor’ and they planned to repair it.

A spokeswoman said: “We are already in talks with the landlord to get the damage repaired and leave the venue in a more suitable state.

“The damage was caused by an overzealous contractor who mistook direction on removing fixtures that we owned.

“We have also agreed to send in a clean up crew to remove the remaining waste which was our original plan until our access to the site was restricted.

”We are currently sourcing carpenters and a clean up team and aim to have the site rectified by the end of the week.”

But news of the destruction was further blow to the many still coming to terms with losing the popular venue.

Among them was Becky Pomeroy who was manager at The Assembly when it first opened.

She said: “Not only was I saddened to hear about the closing, I am even more saddened to see the state it has been left it.

“The huge support and backing from the people of Leamington, Warwick and nationally on social media to express the shear anger as to what has happened is very humbling to see.

“The venue that we all worked so hard and put so much love into destroyed by mindless people. Very very sad.”

The MJR Group, which did not own the building, said they decided to shut the doors due to high rent and rates and the cost of repairs and upkeep to maintain the listed building.

The 1,000 capacity venue opened in 2008 bringing big name music acts to Leamington including Lou Reed, Public Enemy, Steve Winwood, Suzanne Vega and The Stranglers.

The building, which originally opened as a dancehall in 1926, was transformed into The Assembly following a £5million pound redevelopment by celebrity designer Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen.

The Assembly had been the brainchild of Leamington born and bred entrepreneur Nigel Dally, who previously ran Trinity Street, a music merchandise business based in Leamington. Throughout the 1990s it was almost impossible to open a CD case without finding a card inside with a Leamington Spa CV32 address offering info on the artist/group.

The venue immediately put Leamington on the national music map winning the highly coveted Music Week Award for Best Live Music Venue in 2010.

The future of the building remains unclear.

The MJR Group said it was now looking to focus on its other venues in Birmingham and Cardiff.

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