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End of an era as Bradford's Irish Club is put up for sale
Bradford’s struggling Irish Club is up for sale to help clear its debts as management blames part of its downfall on being in the middle of the city’s red-light area.
Club chairman and director Dominic Sheeran said the fact the area around the club in Rebecca Street was populated by prostitutes had an “indisputable impact”.
Mr Sheeran said the adverse effect the locality was having on club users, the current trend of people drinking at home and cheap alcohol from supermarkets had all combined to create “the perfect storm” responsible for shutting down the club.
He said the only way for Bradford Irish Club Ltd’s directors to stay in control of the situation and not go into liquidation was to put the club up for sale to pay off its debts.
He said: “Anything left over will be up for our members to decide what to do with. Whether they donate it or put it into some other venue where they think the Irish Club could continue. Everything will be transparent to the members and it will be done by company law and by members’ will.”
However, a police spokesman said there had been fewer prostitutes standing near the City Road end of Rebecca Street and insisted it was still force policy to move them on if spotted.
Focused patrols in the area have been part of specific work by police to tackle prostitution, said the spokesman, who added that feedback had been positive.
The police spokesman said: “We are aware of the negative effect that prostitution can have on businesses and communities in the city centre and are committed to working closely with partners to tackle it.”
At a meeting called by the club just before Christmas, members voted 66 to 24 that the club should be sold.
It stopped trading on December 19 with the building, purpose built in the 1970s, having to be emptied and all stock cleared.
Mr Sheeran said: “There have been bigger clubs than ours in the city who have gone to the wall long before us.
“At least by selling the club we can move forward and it is in the hands of our members.”
The closure has led to two of the city’s established music clubs having to find new homes. Both the Topic Folk Club and Jazz have now uprooted to Glyde House in the heart of the city centre.
Steve Arloff, chairman of Bradford Jazz Club JATP Jazz, said the Irish Club had been “forced to put itself up for sale” and that it had been “a wrench to up sticks”.
But he said its baby grand piano was now firmly ensconced at the new venue with its first gig on Friday, featuring The Weave, a quintet from Liverpool.
The Topic’s first club event tomorrow will be a singers’ and musicians’ night.
Bradford Irish Club is run as a limited company under Bradford Irish Club Ltd and dates back to the late 19th Century when it was formed to provide a social centre.
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