Warning for future of nightclubs as pandemic takes its toll in Suffolk

LP Bar EADT Food Review.

The company which runs the LP in Woolhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, appointed liquidators as a result of the pandemic. - Credit: Gregg Brown

LP bar and nightclub in Bury St Edmunds has appointed liquidators as nightlife bosses issue a stark warning over the future of the industry.

Venues across Suffolk and north Essex have been unable to open for most of the past 12 months.

Despite government support and attempts to diversify firms have gone out of business.

East Anglian venues — which ran the LP bar and nightclub in Woolhall Street - recently appointed liquidators.

The company owed £117,000, including £60,000 to Barclays Bank and £26,600 to Mike Garling, the firm's director. 

A packed night in The LP prior to the pandemic. Will clubbers ever enjoy a night out like this again

A packed night in The LP prior to the pandemic. - Credit: The LP

Mr Garling, said: "The pressure of trying to keep the business alive with shutdowns, social distancing, one household rule, curfew and no insurance payout made it impossible to meet the rent, utility bills and staffing costs.

"The grants were no match for the high costs this sector has. Nightlife will be re-born but it will be more expensive to go out and customers will have to be tempted back with exceptional service and performance.

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"Government help will need to be long lasting to sustain pressure from festivals, supermarkets and in-home entertainment."

Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), warned that without support more nightlife businesses will close.

"We are pleased we are part of the ongoing government narrative, and we have a date with which we are able to plan towards," he said. "But we are heavily reliant on the chancellor delivering a budget which will support us through the next 3/4 months, or we will see many more nightlife businesses lost to the pandemic.

"First and foremost we need further detail on how we will be able to open through May and June, coupled with an extension of furlough and Self-Employment Income Support Scheme to the end of the year — with a provision for freelancers and sole directors."

The NTIA is also calling for "a solution to commercial rent before the forfeiture moratorium comes to an end in March", "an extension of the business rates holiday" and "an expansion of 5% VAT with the inclusion of wet led sales".