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Friday, 25 October, 2002, 13:01 GMT 14:01 UK
London's Astoria refused licence
Bono on stage at the London Astoria
One of London's leading music venues, which has played host to gigs by U2 and Oasis, has been refused a licence by its local council.

The Astoria - which has also played host to David Bowie and Blur, amongst others - was denied its licence renewal at a meeting of Westminster City Council's licencing sub-committee.

But the owner of the Astoria, the Mean Fiddler Group, has appealed against the ruling.

It will take the issue to a magistrates' court on 27 November.


The licensees were seen as unfit to hold their licence

Westminster City Council
A spokesperson for Westminster Council said the venue's weeknight and Sunday night music and dance licence and restricted film licence had been refused on safety grounds.

The authority cited an incident in October 2001, after a shooting outside the venue during an after-show party by notorious London rappers So Solid crew.

"The committee was not satisfied that the licensees had done enough to ensure public safety at the venue, particularly in light of the shooting on the 30th October 2001," the spokesperson said.

"The failure of the licensees to implement appropriate measures to prevent the large number of public safety breaches alarmed the committee.

"It was the primary reason that the licensees were seen as unfit to hold their licence and therefore the renewal was refused."

Assaults

The spoksperson also said that between September 2001 and May 2002, there had been 152 calls to the emergency services involving the venue on Charing Cross Road.

London's world-famous Astoria
London Astoria's licence has not been renewed

Twenty-seven of those calls had been over assaults, and 15 over reported assaults. Nine assaults had involced venue staff, including one allegation of serious assault by staff on a female.

Mean Fiddler released a statement on Thursday saying the appeal would be lodged immediately to magistrates.

"The decision to refuse was clearly a surprise and appears to be based on the activities associated with the firearms incident in the club in October 2001," the statement said.

"However, both the council's own health and safety team and the Metropolitan Police investigated the incident and the changes we have made ensure a similar incident does not reoccur."

The venue remains open and forthcoming concerts by The Streets, The Datsuns, and Teenage Fanclub will not be affected.

The Astoria is one of the capital's best-loved venues, despite its shabby interior.

For the last decade it has been the home of the New Musical Express' January concerts, and has seen special "club" shows by stadium sized acts, such as last year's one-off by U2.

It also plays host to a number of club nights, notably the GAY night, which has attracted guests such as Geri Halliwell and Victoria Beckham in the past.


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See also:

17 Oct 02 | Entertainment
19 Feb 02 | Entertainment
01 Nov 01 | Entertainment
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