16th Jul, 2019

The Assembly fans left 'extremely saddened' after damage done to venue hours after closure announcement

FANS of The Assembly have been left ‘extremely saddened’ after damage was done to the venue just hours after it announced it was shutting its doors.

The Avenue Road music venue announced yesterday it was shutting its doors with immediate effect.

But photos sent to The Observer since then show smashed stair and balcony rails and the bar ripped apart, to name just some of the damage done.

One former attendee of the music venue said she was ‘extremely saddened by the news but even more so that someone had done this before they left’.

The MJR Group – which took over The Assembly three years ago – say it was caused by ‘an overzealous contractor’.

A spokeswoman said: “It came to our attention at the end of yesterday that during the move, damage has been caused to some of the fixtures in The Assembly. We are already in talks with the landlord to get the damage repaired and leave the venue in a more suitable state.

“As we stated in our previous release, we have immense affection for The Assembly and Zephyr Lounge and wish we would have continued trading the venue. The damage was caused by an overzealous contractor who mistook direction on removing fixtures that we owned.

“We have also agreed to send in a clean up crew to remove the remaining waste which was our original plan until our access to the site was restricted.

”We are currently sourcing carpenters and a clean up team and aim to have the site rectified by the end of the week.”

Bosses said they decided to shut the doors due to high rent and rates and the cost of repairs and upkeep to maintain the listed building.

The 1,000 capacity venue opened in 2008 bringing big name music acts to Leamington including Lou Reed, Public Enemy, Steve Winwood, Suzanne Vega and The Stranglers.

The art-deco building, which originally opened as a dancehall in 1926, was transformed into The Assembly following a £5million pound redevelopment by celebrity designer Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen.

The Assembly had been the brainchild of Leamington born and bred entrepreneur Nigel Dally, who previously ran Trinity Street, a music merchandise business based in Leamington. Throughout the 1990s it was almost impossible to open a CD case without finding a card inside with a Leamington Spa CV32 address offering info on the artist/group.

The venue immediately put Leamington on the national music map winning the highly coveted Music Week Award for Best Live Music Venue in 2010.

The future of the building remains unclear.

The Observer had not, at the time of going to press, been able to establish if or how many jobs could be lost.

Ticket holders for forthcoming concerts at The Assembly will be offered full refunds.

The MJR Group is now looking to focus on its other venues in Birmingham and Cardiff.

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