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Anti-eviction video starring Eddie Izzard captures Leadmill's special essence

Iconic venue "which means so much to so many people" urges fans to sign petition as eviction by landlord inches closer. 

The Leadmill has launched a campaign video featuring Eddie Izzard and Miles Kane as it calls on members of the public to sign its petition to try to prevent its upcoming eviction.

The #WeCantLoseLeadmill campaign was launched in April after it emerged that the owner of the building, Electric Group, planned to kick out the Leadmill in March 2023 in order to take over operation of the space itself.

In the video, comedian and performer Izzard, who attended university in Sheffield and has performed at the venue, says the Leadmill is “an intrinsic part of Sheffield”.

Johnny Yerrell, lead singer of Rotherham band The Reytons, says “it’s a venue that means so much to so many people”.

Miles Kane describes it as “a landmark for the city” and an important venue for “new young talent, which is inspiring,” before encouraging people to sign the petition.

Heather Paterson of LGBTQ+ support charity SAYiT notes: "In the whole of the country, we've only ever had the Leadmill, the Cavern and the Hacienda that have ever had that status. They're far more than just music venues – they're an integral part of our heritage and culture."

The petition, which has attracted more than 43,000 signatures, calls on the government to suspend section 25 of the Landlord and Tenant Act, which relates to termination of tenancy by a landlord.

The government responded to the petition in April, saying it has no plans to suspend section 25 and that “further intervention in the commercial property market should be made only after the upcoming review [of the Landlord and Tenant Act] has reported.”

If it reaches 100,000 signatures, the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.

As reported by Now Then earlier this year, Electric Group describes itself as “a joint venture between co-founders, Dominic Madden, CEO, and Jake Lewis of the Lewis Family." According to its website the company currently operates three venues: Electric Brixton, NX in Newcastle and SWX in Bristol.

Bernard Lewis and family – who run retailer River Island, as well as hotels, property development and asset management businesses – are listed by Forbes at the time of writing as having a “real-time net worth” of $1.1bn.

The news of the Leadmill’s eviction was met with a huge backlash from Sheffield musicians, businesses and locals earlier this year.

Martyn Ware, founding member of the Human League and Heaven 17, tweeted that Electric Group's "unconscionable behaviour" was "idiotic and immoral," while independent business Picture House Social told the company: “Don’t pretend to be one of us.”

Richard Hawley, who staged a four-night residency at the Leadmill in August, told The Independent last week: “If they win, I will never ever set foot over the threshold again – ever.”

The Leadmill has a long and unique history, opening as a community art space in 1980. Over 42 years it has hosted gigs by the likes of Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, The White Stripes, Queens of the Stone Age, Manic Street Preachers, The Strokes, Primal Scream and thousands more, as well as stand-up comedians including Joe Lycett, Shappi Khorsandi and Nish Kumar.

Electric Group has been approached for comment on the future of the venue.

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