Lomax has become the second city centre club to be shut for three months, as a judge at Liverpool Magistrates’ Court handed down the same closure order that was given to Garlands at a hearing last week.
District Judge Miriam Shelvey agreed to the Merseyside Police request after Lomax had earlier been closed as a result of a drugs squad raid in the early hours of Valentine’s Day, following a covert investigation with narcotics allegedly being sold to undercover officers.
A ‘Save The Lomax’ campaign quickly took hold, resulting in hundreds taking part in a peaceful protest outside the Cumberland Street premises on Saturday.
Self-proclaimed as the “last true independent music venue in Liverpool”, Lomax has hosted huge household names such as Radiohead, Muse, Oasis, Stereophonics and Coldplay early in their careers, as well as providing a platform for local bands.
Representing Lomax, Peter McPartland said the venue was not contesting the closure, but was instead asking for a 28-day order to give the club time to address police concerns as part of an action plan. He suggested that a longer period would put the future of Lomax in doubt.
The court heard that two directors of Lomax had resigned and a new security team had been taken on following the initial police raid.
However, District Judge Shelvey ruled in favour of Merseyside Police, as a three-month order was “proportionate and necessary”.
She said: “Chief Inspector Morgan paints a picture of a venue that has been used to deal Class A drugs, and a venue in which members of staff and the premises supervisor have been involved in that. There is also evidence in relation to disorder in the area that is given to the court about increasing disorder over the last year.”
After the ruling, ‘Save the Lomax’ campaigner Anna Grace Henry told the Liverpool Echo: “Obviously we are disappointed with the result today but I think if we get our plans in place I’m hopeful for a positive result. We just need to make sure people keep up the support and continue to support us.
“There’s lots of campaigning events and charity CDs in place to keep the funding going for the building.”
Mr McPartland added that an appeal is planned and Lomax do not accept the police case, and not contesting the evidence in court was not an admission of the allegations against the venue.