Popular Sunderland music venue faces demolition + VIDEO

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AN influential music venue is to move after a demolition order was placed on the building.

The site used by Independent, in Holmeside, in Sunderland city centre, will be torn down as part of the renovation of the area.

Ben Wall (left) and Paul Smiles outside Independent Nightclub in Holmeside, Sunderland.

Ben Wall (left) and Paul Smiles outside Independent Nightclub in Holmeside, Sunderland.

The disused Kwik Save and two-storey car park next to the club will also be demolished.

The owners of Independent have been told they have until January to find new premises – and they are already in discussions about a possible move.

“It is great news that we can stay open until January,” said promotions manager Ben Wall.

“We weren’t sure at first if that was going to be the case, but we told them that it was needed so as not to destroy the Sunderland music scene.

“We needed to have that time to find somewhere new so our business could continue, and we’re already in talks about the new site.”

He added: “It has taken us five years to get where we are now and we have had some really big bands play.

“If we had started missing bands now, then it would have been impossible to get them back later on.”

Since it opened, Independent has been at the forefront of bringing new music into the city with bands such as Spector, the Klaxons and The Futureheads performing.

The Lake Poets and Frankie and The Heartstrings also started off their career by playing there.

Paul Smiles, owner of the club, which employs about 30 staff, said: “The decision to be open until January is definitely better than being out in two months as was first proposed.

“We will find new premises and hopefully we will get the same punters to keep coming.”

A spokesman from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), which owns the Kwik Save site, said: “The supermarket, twin-deck car park and associated buildings are no longer fit for modern use and need to be demolished.

“This will be to provide a development opportunity that will help attract investment into the city centre, to complement the HCA’s significant investment to date in support of regeneration initiatives across the city.

“The Independent nightclub currently occupies one of the buildings being demolished and since purchase by One NorthEast has been on a short-term lease, on the understanding that the lease could terminate to facilitate regeneration of the Holmeside site.”

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