Update, May 18: A petition to reinstate the club’s licence has collected over 25,000 signatures.
The closure of The Arches “severely threatens a vital part of the Scottish arts ecology, and the livelihoods of the venue’s many employees,” the petition states.
Glasgow’s licensing board has taken measures to shut down The Arches.
Board chairman Bill Butler announced that the venue will be forced to close every day at midnight, effectively ending operations, reports The Herald.
The Arches said the move meant the likely closure of the club. Mark Anderson, executive director, said: “We are obviously very disappointed with today’s outcome. We will now have to consider our options but the impact of this decision may well result in the closure of one of Europe’s most highly regarded arts venues and a key contributor to Glasgow’s night time economy.”
He added: “It’s not only a bad day for the Arches but the portents don’t look look good for the wider licensed trade.”
At the licensing board meeting, police claimed the venue’s “robust drugs search policy” was “not sufficient deterrent to patrons attending the premises in possession of drugs”.
Police solicitor Duncan Campbell said: “By far these premises pose the greatest concern to Glasgow Division and the biggest drain on police resources. Due to the culture of drug misuse associated with the premises, the licence holder is unable to operate the premises in a suitable manner.”
The decision follows a bid by Police Scotland to shut down the venue in March after a women was found unconscious in the Glasgow venue. The closure order was thrown out by the council, with the venue’s lawyers successfully arguing that the police had attempted to use legislation usually applied to prevent football hooliganism, which didn’t apply in this case.
Police claimed there would be “potentially lethal and profound consequences” unless instances of drug misuse and disorder were addressed. However, the Arches’ lawyer Robert Skinner said that most of the 15 reported drug offences on the night in question were the result of searches by door stewards, and the 11 alcohol offences came from police searches conducted in the street after revellers had been moved out of the venue by the force.
Police Scotland maintained that the levels of drunkenness meant there was threat of disorder, and said the presence of an unconscious woman meant its response had been proportionate. [h/t Lauren Martin]