Strip show debt is catalyst for Preston Guild Hall tipping into administration

It was a winding-up petition from The Dreamboys strip show for more than £6,600 which knocked the heavily indebted Preston Guild Hall into administration.

Monday, 19th August 2019, 9:39 am
Updated Monday, 19th August 2019, 10:39 am
Preston Guild Hall Ltd 4.5m in debt when it went into administration

A report from the administrators reveals that Preston Guild Hall Ltd was in debt to the tune of £4.5m when it was closed suddenly in May.

The revelations also show that the firm owed more than £112,000 to ticket holders and £66,000 to staff.

Lancashire County Council, Preston City Council (PCC) and The University of Lancashire are among those listed who are all owed money from the company.

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But Simon Rigby, who used to run the venue, says “no one has lost more on Preston Guild Hall than me”, after he invested around £6m of his own cash into the company.

He said: “Preston Guild Hall was and hopefully soon will be again a massive operation and the numbers in the administrators report are commensurate with the scale of the operation.”

After Mr Rigby shut the Charter Theatre and Great Theatre in May, Preston City Council seized ownership of the building in June, over a dispute about unpaid business rates.

Mr Rigby told the Post that the operator he had lined up had been going to “settle all promoters and re employ the staff” before the intervention from PCC.

He added: “I would hope that whoever the council get in to operate Preston Guild Hall will do something for the ticket holders.”

But councillor Matthew Brown, leader of PCC, says re-claiming Preston Guild Hall was “in the best interests of the city and the council”.

He said: “Unfortunately Preston City Council is among the number of creditors owed a significant amount of money from Preston Guild Hall LTD.

“As this is tax payers money we are actively considering reasonable means to recover this money owed.”