Bid to revive Blackburn's Utopia club

Blackburn Citizen: The former Utopia club The former Utopia club

A BUSINESSMAN wants to revive Blackburn’s former Utopia nightclub to boost the town’s evening economy.

Leon Kelly believes the re- opening could play a key part in the council’s strategy for the future, with a projected opening date of summer next year.

Next Thursday, January 16, he will present his idea to council leader Kate Hollern and her regeneration supremo Andrew Lightfoot.

The proposal would involve spending more than £500,000 on the shell of the old nightclub building, on the top of The Mall, originally the Cavendish Club.

Mr Kelly, who runs the ‘Level One’ nightclub chain, said: “Because Blackburn’s nightlife has taken a serious downward spiral, I want to build on the nostalgia for the Cavendish Club, Peppermint Place, and Utopia.

“The only way the council could regenerate the town would be to re-open the thing that made Black-burn synonymous with a night out.

“A lot of people have got an enormous amount of love and affection for it.

Mr Kelly has already contacted Mall bosses, who would need to repair the building, and will ask Coun Hollern for Blackburn with Darwen Council backing and cash.

Blackburn-born Mr Kelly, 36, who lives in Wilpshire, would split the proposed new club into Utopia, aimed at 18 to 25s, and Peppermint Place for older clubbers. It would host live bands.

He said: “If I can pull together a plan with The Mall and the council, I have a significant amount of my own money I could invest.”

Coun Hollern said: “I am looking forward to meeting Mr Kelly. The council wants to revive Blackburn as an evening destination and we will do whatever we can to help.”

Mall general manager Loraine Jones said: “This is an interesting idea, but he would need a viable fin-ancial package to go ahead.”

Mr Kelly currently runs a ‘Level One’ club in Accrington, plans to open one in Darwen on January 31, and ran a similar venue in Burnley, which closed on New Year’s Eve.

Comments (21)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:39pm Wed 8 Jan 14

Paul The Octopus Lives! says...

Sounds like a good way to pour £500,000 of taxpayer's cash down the drain! If Mr Kelly is such a business genius why did his club at Burnley close on New Year's Even and his club at Darwen not open over the busy Christmas and New Year period?
Sounds like a good way to pour £500,000 of taxpayer's cash down the drain! If Mr Kelly is such a business genius why did his club at Burnley close on New Year's Even and his club at Darwen not open over the busy Christmas and New Year period? Paul The Octopus Lives!
  • Score: 26

11:41pm Wed 8 Jan 14

shirtbox2003 says...

very interesting.?
very interesting.? shirtbox2003
  • Score: 3

12:02am Thu 9 Jan 14

East_lancs_lad says...

It also does not state why Mr Kelly is no longer a company director with his two previous companies being dissolved, couldn't manage the Burnley spot so why does he carry on thinking that he is Peter Stringfellow........
.idiot
It also does not state why Mr Kelly is no longer a company director with his two previous companies being dissolved, couldn't manage the Burnley spot so why does he carry on thinking that he is Peter Stringfellow........ .idiot East_lancs_lad
  • Score: 26

2:28am Thu 9 Jan 14

coxy78 says...

Revive blackburns nightlife is that a joke, the council and the police have done their best to destroy it over the last ten years!!! I know there are aome idiots in Blackburn on a night out but the heavy handed policing is the most major thing that needs to change....
Revive blackburns nightlife is that a joke, the council and the police have done their best to destroy it over the last ten years!!! I know there are aome idiots in Blackburn on a night out but the heavy handed policing is the most major thing that needs to change.... coxy78
  • Score: 12

2:46am Thu 9 Jan 14

Rumpole says...

Blackburn needs more than just the reopening of the Cav/Pep/Utopia to revive its once excellent nights out.

It also needs a decent network of pubs, restaurants and café-bars to cater for all age groups which would encourage more night time revellers to venture into town for a night out.

One nightclub is not going to do that so why bother wasting the money until a proper development strategy is worked out and implemented to make any potential investors to put their money into Blackburn town centre.

The council have spent 20 years ruining the nightlife in Blackburn and if they think by allowing one nightclub to open is going to reverse 20 years of bad planning then we really do need a new council!
Blackburn needs more than just the reopening of the Cav/Pep/Utopia to revive its once excellent nights out. It also needs a decent network of pubs, restaurants and café-bars to cater for all age groups which would encourage more night time revellers to venture into town for a night out. One nightclub is not going to do that so why bother wasting the money until a proper development strategy is worked out and implemented to make any potential investors to put their money into Blackburn town centre. The council have spent 20 years ruining the nightlife in Blackburn and if they think by allowing one nightclub to open is going to reverse 20 years of bad planning then we really do need a new council! Rumpole
  • Score: 60

7:09am Thu 9 Jan 14

makaveli96 says...

There are people who live in Blackburn, yet go out round Manchester!

Is this being a JUDAS to the town of the PREMIERSHIP CHAMPIONS 1995, and in turn reducing the towns balance of payments........disc
uss?
There are people who live in Blackburn, yet go out round Manchester! Is this being a JUDAS to the town of the PREMIERSHIP CHAMPIONS 1995, and in turn reducing the towns balance of payments........disc uss? makaveli96
  • Score: -20

8:00am Thu 9 Jan 14

shytalk says...

Politicians need to take a long hard look at what they have done to destroy Blackburn over the last 30yrs. One thing stands out but it is not something you are allowed to speak about on here but lets just say multiculturalism hasn't done the town any favours and it is why there is no longer any nightlife.
The way the politicians and planners are going about their business there will soon be no day life either.
Politicians need to take a long hard look at what they have done to destroy Blackburn over the last 30yrs. One thing stands out but it is not something you are allowed to speak about on here but lets just say multiculturalism hasn't done the town any favours and it is why there is no longer any nightlife. The way the politicians and planners are going about their business there will soon be no day life either. shytalk
  • Score: 49

10:08am Thu 9 Jan 14

ChrisDeBerg says...

Rumpole wrote:
Blackburn needs more than just the reopening of the Cav/Pep/Utopia to revive its once excellent nights out.

It also needs a decent network of pubs, restaurants and café-bars to cater for all age groups which would encourage more night time revellers to venture into town for a night out.

One nightclub is not going to do that so why bother wasting the money until a proper development strategy is worked out and implemented to make any potential investors to put their money into Blackburn town centre.

The council have spent 20 years ruining the nightlife in Blackburn and if they think by allowing one nightclub to open is going to reverse 20 years of bad planning then we really do need a new council!
I think we just need to open Blackburn College as a university, once all the students start moving to Blackburn and living locally in student accommodation, not only will the club nightlife boom but so will the shopping centre...I suppose that is what we have been aiming at for the last few years though.. That and a city status...
[quote][p][bold]Rumpole[/bold] wrote: Blackburn needs more than just the reopening of the Cav/Pep/Utopia to revive its once excellent nights out. It also needs a decent network of pubs, restaurants and café-bars to cater for all age groups which would encourage more night time revellers to venture into town for a night out. One nightclub is not going to do that so why bother wasting the money until a proper development strategy is worked out and implemented to make any potential investors to put their money into Blackburn town centre. The council have spent 20 years ruining the nightlife in Blackburn and if they think by allowing one nightclub to open is going to reverse 20 years of bad planning then we really do need a new council![/p][/quote]I think we just need to open Blackburn College as a university, once all the students start moving to Blackburn and living locally in student accommodation, not only will the club nightlife boom but so will the shopping centre...I suppose that is what we have been aiming at for the last few years though.. That and a city status... ChrisDeBerg
  • Score: 13

1:00pm Thu 9 Jan 14

woolywords says...

Blackburn is dead!

What's that phrase that Burner is often wont to quote, about how you can't get something gleaming, from something that is steaming?
Blackburn is dead! What's that phrase that Burner is often wont to quote, about how you can't get something gleaming, from something that is steaming? woolywords
  • Score: 9

2:26pm Thu 9 Jan 14

makaveli96 says...

I was sat watching the TV with my dad when I asked him who Sherlock's assistant was.

"Watson."

"Who's Sherlock's assistant?"
I was sat watching the TV with my dad when I asked him who Sherlock's assistant was. "Watson." "Who's Sherlock's assistant?" makaveli96
  • Score: 8

5:40pm Thu 9 Jan 14

Carl_24 says...

All this talk of reviving the night life here in this dead town, the idea is good but it's no good because arn't the police suppose to be stopping alcoholics roaming the streets before that cathedral part re-opens?
Won't opening more night clubs just put drunk back roaming the streets?

Blackburn council are so desperate to bring people into the town and start the night life off again why not have Blackburn Arena hold other events apart from just Ice Hockey?
It was a success back in the early 90's for instance WCW went to the venue when they were doing a UK tour in 1992 and Status Quo are the only band to play there back in 1994.
I really think that's what they should start doing again bring in some big acts plus maybe even have a film and comic con at the arena!
All this talk of reviving the night life here in this dead town, the idea is good but it's no good because arn't the police suppose to be stopping alcoholics roaming the streets before that cathedral part re-opens? Won't opening more night clubs just put drunk back roaming the streets? Blackburn council are so desperate to bring people into the town and start the night life off again why not have Blackburn Arena hold other events apart from just Ice Hockey? It was a success back in the early 90's for instance WCW went to the venue when they were doing a UK tour in 1992 and Status Quo are the only band to play there back in 1994. I really think that's what they should start doing again bring in some big acts plus maybe even have a film and comic con at the arena! Carl_24
  • Score: 11

5:51pm Thu 9 Jan 14

phil kernot says...

Fail from the start ,
, please shows us your portfolio , and your books from previous night clubs that are successfull ,,,
, and if the mall ( who have got business sence will have there accountants crawling all over his ex business books ). And he wants tax payers money to fund it , thats hilarious ,
put your money were your mouth is , because you know if its fails you can walk way laughing (at the taxpayer ) and if councilor hollern approves this she should be sacked to when it fails ,,,,,,'so if your confident councilor , please sign a contract if it fails you will pay it back out of you personal savings :))
Fail from the start , , please shows us your portfolio , and your books from previous night clubs that are successfull ,,, , and if the mall ( who have got business sence will have there accountants crawling all over his ex business books ). And he wants tax payers money to fund it , thats hilarious , put your money were your mouth is , because you know if its fails you can walk way laughing (at the taxpayer ) and if councilor hollern approves this she should be sacked to when it fails ,,,,,,'so if your confident councilor , please sign a contract if it fails you will pay it back out of you personal savings :)) phil kernot
  • Score: 11

7:53pm Thu 9 Jan 14

GrindletonBob says...

Does anyone know what state the nightclub is inside - I'm intrigued! Is it just a concrete shell or is there anything else left. Would be great if it was like a timewarp from the Peppermint Place days - Kaleidoscope and Reflections I think the two separate dancefloors were called!
Does anyone know what state the nightclub is inside - I'm intrigued! Is it just a concrete shell or is there anything else left. Would be great if it was like a timewarp from the Peppermint Place days - Kaleidoscope and Reflections I think the two separate dancefloors were called! GrindletonBob
  • Score: 9

11:03pm Thu 9 Jan 14

deejayfatboy says...

Politics in the town hall have made the night time economy the way it is! All of a sudden They Want to revive something They Destroyed!! as One Of Blackburns Longest Serving DJ's I think it will Be an Impossible Task! The People At First Leisure Corporation and Yate's Wine Lodge's Knew of This In the Late 90s and pulled out of town!! 1 new club wont make any difference if people wont come to town!!!
Politics in the town hall have made the night time economy the way it is! All of a sudden They Want to revive something They Destroyed!! as One Of Blackburns Longest Serving DJ's I think it will Be an Impossible Task! The People At First Leisure Corporation and Yate's Wine Lodge's Knew of This In the Late 90s and pulled out of town!! 1 new club wont make any difference if people wont come to town!!! deejayfatboy
  • Score: 2

9:29am Fri 10 Jan 14

annoyed1 says...

Don't bother it was rubbish first time round
Don't bother it was rubbish first time round annoyed1
  • Score: 0

10:01am Fri 10 Jan 14

comeonublues1875 says...

Rumpole wrote:
Blackburn needs more than just the reopening of the Cav/Pep/Utopia to revive its once excellent nights out.

It also needs a decent network of pubs, restaurants and café-bars to cater for all age groups which would encourage more night time revellers to venture into town for a night out.

One nightclub is not going to do that so why bother wasting the money until a proper development strategy is worked out and implemented to make any potential investors to put their money into Blackburn town centre.

The council have spent 20 years ruining the nightlife in Blackburn and if they think by allowing one nightclub to open is going to reverse 20 years of bad planning then we really do need a new council!
Couldnt agree more, time moves one, the people have gone.

One night club wont make a difference!!
[quote][p][bold]Rumpole[/bold] wrote: Blackburn needs more than just the reopening of the Cav/Pep/Utopia to revive its once excellent nights out. It also needs a decent network of pubs, restaurants and café-bars to cater for all age groups which would encourage more night time revellers to venture into town for a night out. One nightclub is not going to do that so why bother wasting the money until a proper development strategy is worked out and implemented to make any potential investors to put their money into Blackburn town centre. The council have spent 20 years ruining the nightlife in Blackburn and if they think by allowing one nightclub to open is going to reverse 20 years of bad planning then we really do need a new council![/p][/quote]Couldnt agree more, time moves one, the people have gone. One night club wont make a difference!! comeonublues1875
  • Score: 3

5:34pm Fri 10 Jan 14

onsidecobra says...

The people who enjoyed nights out at the Cavendish and Peppermint Place are I'm afraid to say a little too old to wander about the town in the hope that they don't get their heads damage or any of their limbs broken. That time has gone, the time of the drug dealer, the addict, the vindictive brawler, the non drinking minority and the cheap supermarket booze is now now here and a good town called Blackburn has died.
The people who enjoyed nights out at the Cavendish and Peppermint Place are I'm afraid to say a little too old to wander about the town in the hope that they don't get their heads damage or any of their limbs broken. That time has gone, the time of the drug dealer, the addict, the vindictive brawler, the non drinking minority and the cheap supermarket booze is now now here and a good town called Blackburn has died. onsidecobra
  • Score: 4

7:18pm Fri 10 Jan 14

craidar says...

As a former manager of this establishment I can tell you that, without a shadow of a doubt that one nightclub a night out does not create.

The success of the Cavendish, Perppermint place and Utopia was built upon a very strong and succesful support network of feeder bars. There were different areas of the town where one could go from bar to bar, but all would eventually arrive at the Cav. This being said, if you arrived there before midnight the place would have been practically empty.

Without a revival of this support network, something the council have done their utmost to vilify over the past decade and more then this is doomed to failure and any tax payer money wasted on this venture will be money that the council can I'll afford to spare.

Blackburn's nightlife has had its day, it's time to draw a line underneath and move on.
As a former manager of this establishment I can tell you that, without a shadow of a doubt that one nightclub a night out does not create. The success of the Cavendish, Perppermint place and Utopia was built upon a very strong and succesful support network of feeder bars. There were different areas of the town where one could go from bar to bar, but all would eventually arrive at the Cav. This being said, if you arrived there before midnight the place would have been practically empty. Without a revival of this support network, something the council have done their utmost to vilify over the past decade and more then this is doomed to failure and any tax payer money wasted on this venture will be money that the council can I'll afford to spare. Blackburn's nightlife has had its day, it's time to draw a line underneath and move on. craidar
  • Score: 4

8:16pm Fri 10 Jan 14

GrindletonBob says...

Fully agree with what Craidar is saying. There were lots of large party pubs and bars in the town centre such as Blakeys, FJ Nicholls, Brewers, White Bull, Toffs and Yates, to name a few. There were also smaller pubs and bars to cater for every type of punter. Very few people came into town and went straight "up Cav". Without the feeder bars that Craidar refers to then a big part of the whole town centre nightlife experience is missing. There are a handful left but most are closed and converted for other use, ranging from a bookies to a shisha bar (Malt, Salvadors as was!).

There is also the problem of the town centre's declining evening reputation including growing reports of random gang attacks on those drinking, eating or simply walking through - allegedly just because of their ethnicity. Would I walk though the Cathedral grounds during the evening? Definitely not - the Council and Lancashire Constabulary need to get on top of such issues if the Cathedral Quarter is going to be a success rather than no-man's land after dark.
Fully agree with what Craidar is saying. There were lots of large party pubs and bars in the town centre such as Blakeys, FJ Nicholls, Brewers, White Bull, Toffs and Yates, to name a few. There were also smaller pubs and bars to cater for every type of punter. Very few people came into town and went straight "up Cav". Without the feeder bars that Craidar refers to then a big part of the whole town centre nightlife experience is missing. There are a handful left but most are closed and converted for other use, ranging from a bookies to a shisha bar (Malt, Salvadors as was!). There is also the problem of the town centre's declining evening reputation including growing reports of random gang attacks on those drinking, eating or simply walking through - allegedly just because of their ethnicity. Would I walk though the Cathedral grounds during the evening? Definitely not - the Council and Lancashire Constabulary need to get on top of such issues if the Cathedral Quarter is going to be a success rather than no-man's land after dark. GrindletonBob
  • Score: 0

8:04pm Sat 11 Jan 14

ratbag says...

Is this guy a joker, gets evicted from one pub for not paying his rent then suggests opening a bigger one!
Is this guy a joker, gets evicted from one pub for not paying his rent then suggests opening a bigger one! ratbag
  • Score: 4

1:58am Sun 12 Jan 14

Tashan90 says...

I think we need to start from scratch first and redevelop Blackburn in general.

1) Create more jobs via government business incentive schemes and more entrepreneurial people in the area. Job prospects attract people to the area and will also retain local people.
2) This should lead to more disposable income in the area and hence the multiplier effect should take its course i.e.attract chain restaurants and independent restaurants to the area, further businesses will emerge as a higher quantity of people come to the town centre. In general all types of industries should feel a boost as more people are in employment.
3) Improve and expand transport links.
4) Support the local football club and lets put East Lancashire back on the map, sick of seeing these scumbags in United, Liverpool and Chelsea shirts.

Unfortunately this will never happen due to many people not really caring.
I think we need to start from scratch first and redevelop Blackburn in general. 1) Create more jobs via government business incentive schemes and more entrepreneurial people in the area. Job prospects attract people to the area and will also retain local people. 2) This should lead to more disposable income in the area and hence the multiplier effect should take its course i.e.attract chain restaurants and independent restaurants to the area, further businesses will emerge as a higher quantity of people come to the town centre. In general all types of industries should feel a boost as more people are in employment. 3) Improve and expand transport links. 4) Support the local football club and lets put East Lancashire back on the map, sick of seeing these scumbags in United, Liverpool and Chelsea shirts. Unfortunately this will never happen due to many people not really caring. Tashan90
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree