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Rainbow Venues abandons appeal over licence revocation

By | Published on Thursday 22 March 2018

Rainbow Venues

The people behind the Rainbow Venues complex in Birmingham have announced that they are withdrawing their appeal to a decision last year by the city’s council to revoke their licence, because of the “financial and emotional impact” of the licensing issues, and the “difficult and intimidating climate of licensing in Birmingham and across the UK”.

Rainbow’s various venues were closed in November last year when Birmingham City Council revoked the company’s licence. The council’s decision came as the result of two drug-related deaths in the main Rainbow warehouse clubbing space. Eighteen year old Dylan Booth died at the venue in 2015, while nineteen year old Michael Trueman died at a Halloween event last year.

The club’s operators argued that they had extremely strict anti-drugs and security policies. However, they said that no one can “promise that drugs will not enter licensed premises”, while also pointing out that it was the drug users, not the venue, who had broken the law.

The Rainbow team pledged to appeal the City Council’s licensing decision, later launching a campaign under the banner of ‘Educate Not Revocate’, calling for a change to licensing rules and drug policies in the UK.

That campaign echoed much of what was said when London club Fabric likewise lost its licence as a result of drug-related deaths at the venue. Similar calls were then made earlier this week by drug safety charity The Loop as it published its new ‘Night Lives’ report.

However, the team behind Rainbow Venues, who had already indicated plans to move back into event promotion rather than venue management, have now decided to move on from their former business rather than continue the complex fight against Birmingham City Council. Monies raised to fund the appeal will also be returned.

Founder Lee McDonald said in a statement: “We are resolute in our commitment to calling for a more progressive approach to licensing through the Educate Not Revocate campaign as announced in January 2018, and extend a huge thank you to the fans, artists and industry professionals who have pledged their support to our cause so far”.

However, he added, “until the difficult and intimidating climate of licensing in Birmingham and across the UK changes, and the financial and emotional impact that it directly causes on venue owners and licensees is alleviated, we will no longer invest in the city we have previously called home”.

Looking ahead to his new ventures, he concluded: “We look forward to taking time out to re-energise, and continue discussions with global brands and potential partners, before returning as promoters of the major international events that The Rainbow has built its reputation around in the past thirteen years”.