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MACs Preston closes down for good

Posted on - 15th September, 2017 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - Business, News, Preston City Centre

The popular nightclub in the centre of Preston, MACs bar, has shut its doors for good.

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Andy MacDonald, the founder of MACs Preston, announced the immediate closure through a Facebook post, and confirmed the details to Blog Preston. He said: “I am more gutted for the staff, customers and everyone that has played a part in MACs.

“It’s sat on its own, away from everywhere and survived 6 and a half years! That’s an achievement”.

He said: “I’ve always had minor issues with the place, and a couple of years ago, the police hit me with a closure order because of ‘customers congregating outside of the venue’

“I fought the police and [Preston City] Council in a long court battle. When I won, it honestly took it out of me”.

Andy said in his lengthy Facebook post: “I am personally relieved as it’s been an ongoing stress for years and it’s hard to admit to everyone, including myself, that my passion for the venue died a few years ago.

“Special thank you to the negative people out there and the few that spread rumours about me and the club. If it wasn’t for you guys, I would be heartbroken at the thought of MACs closing”.

Andy said to Blog Preston: “Rumours began circulating about me and my club, and they always hurt me, even though they  were not true and I knew I had to rise above them – and I did.”

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“It took it out of me, and it drained me. I lost my passion for the club. I stopped going, and ultimately I stopped caring enough”.

In a comment response, he also added: “[…] but we needed more nights and better nights to sustain it”.

The Friargate nightclub only reopened less than two years ago, following a change of management after the venue was plagued with antisocial behaviour in the area – an issue Lancashire Police tried dealing with by appealing to Preston City Council to close the bar.

The bar had a temporary closing party following that particular incident and when it reopened just two months later it’s focus shifted to relaunch itself as a “sophisticated and grown up bar aimed at mid-twenties”.

Despite this, Andy gave word to Blog Preston that the refurbishment wasn’t what it seemed: “I wasn’t happy. The refurb [sic] wasn’t complete, the sound and lighting were half done, and I couldn’t enjoy myself. I ended up leaving early.

“The sound and lighting was never completed, and even though we were preparing not to be too busy until the students returned, we just weren’t busy enough during the weekdays to sustain it”.

He told us that the rent, rates and running costs exceeded £130,000 – forcing him to make a choice. “I had to make the ultimate decision. Try and save it and get behind it, or close it and focus on my other projects”.

However, it seems the allegations of the past have proven too persistent for Andy MacDonald to continue with the bar, writing that people still “spread the rumours”.

Blog Preston then discovered through a Freedom of Information Act that Lancashire Police had spent £9000 in legal fees whilst attempting to close the bar (£8400 for the cost of the two day hearing, and £600 on paperwork by solicitors acting on behalf of the police).

Lancashire Police told Blog Preston that they couldn’t estimate the cost of staff time spent on the hearing, or how much was spent on attending the licensing hearing.
Speaking at the time, Sgt Tony Bushell, of the Police Licensing Team, said: “As a result of the review, the operators have changed the management of the premises and implemented new operating procedures”.
He then praised the ‘close communications’ the licensing team has with MACs, and that they were ‘satisfied the premises was promoting licensing objectives’.
Andy told Blog Preston that he was ‘proud’ of those close communications held at the time, and praised the close relationship Lancashire Police and Preston City Council held with the bar afterwards.

Andy said that his focus would now shift to the other Preston bar that he founded: Ships and Giggles.

He added: “It’s about time I got out there again and did what I love”.

“I will be helping at Ships and Giggles, and creating new and exciting nights. A thrill of mine has always been working with other businesses, and helping to turn them around.

“Best of luck to every other venue in Preston. Preston needs you guys!”

Do you have any memories in MACs bar? What do you think of the announced closure? Let us know in the comments below.

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