Saturday, March 14, 2009

Powerless to save Doghouse

Councillors in Dundee are powerless to intervene and help reopen music venue The Doghouse, despite the fact it was the council that closed it down, it emerged today (writes David Clegg).

The popular Brown Street establishment was shut on Tuesday when licensee Sarah Hill was sequestrated at the request of Dundee City Council for non-payment of business rates.

But Richard McCready, chair of the council’s Leisure, Arts and Communities committee, told the Tele elected officials could not interfere over the collection of the tax.

“There isn’t any room for leeway,” said Councillor McCready. “It would actually be illegal for us to suggest the council doesn’t collect its tax.

“But it is obviously sad for the music scene in Dundee that The Doghouse is closing.

“I hope some other alternative comes in — maybe a reopened Doghouse or some other venue.

“The Doghouse has played a big part in Dundee bands like The View and The Law that have been successful and raised the profile of the city.”

Councillor Bob Duncan, SNP group spokesman, added that it was very “disappointing” the venue had been forced to close. “It is very sad for live music in Dundee,” he said.

The councillors were speaking after Pete Reilly, guitarist with chart-topping Dundee band The View, said decision makers at the council should “hang their head in shame” over the closure.

He said, “It’s the end of an era. We all think it’s ridiculous, it wasn’t a massive amount of money and Sarah does a brilliant job of keeping that place going.

“It’s a fantastic place for bands to play and it’s where we really started out. Sarah gave us the use of the upstairs room and we practically lived there for months.

“Where will all the young bands hang out now? They’ve got nowhere.

“We’re gutted, I can’t believe the council have done this, it’s ridiculous, whoever made that decision should hang their head in shame.”

Dundee City Council moved to sequestrate Sarah Hill after she amassed what they say was over £10,000 in unpaid non-domestic rates.

Evening Telegraph, 12th March 2009


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