A POPULAR seafront venue has announced it has gone into voluntary liquidation.

Legends in Marine Parade has been closed because of coronavirus, but now owners say the business has had to make the "difficult decision" to close for good.

An insolvency company will be brought in as the owners have decided to wind-up the business.

All bookings have been cancelled, and owners have "sincerely apologised" for any inconvenience to customers.

The venue, which boasts a hotel, bar, outside terrace, and downstairs nightclub, has been one of the main focal points of the gay scene in Brighton.

A voluntary liquidation is usually where owners decide they cannot pay business debts and therefore creditors are brought in.

In a statement on its website the company said: "The company has had to make the difficult decision to close with immediate effect.

"A licensed firm of Insolvency Practitioners has been instructed to assist in placing the company into Creditors Voluntary Liquidation.

"Therefore, no further bookings can be made. For all existing bookings, you will be contacted shortly with details on how you can register your claim.

"If you have paid for a booking using a credit card, you may wish to contact your credit card provider to check whether you are entitled to a refund.

"The company sincerely apologises for the inconvenience caused."

The news has been met with shock in the LGBT community.

Brighton Kemptown Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle said he has already contacted Brighton and Hove City Council about saving venues on the scene.

He said he hopes owners will make use of government loans and the furlough scheme for workers if they are able to.

But if Legends has been closed over longer-term financial problems, he said he hopes the hotel and venue can be protected.

Mr Russell-Moyle said: "If they were a viable business, then they should put workers in furlough and make use of government loans.

"If the owners have had a problem accessing these loans, they can contact us and we will try to help.

"But if the business has a longer-term issue of not being viable, this is a great shame for the city.

"We need to make sure the venue doesn't fall into the hands of speculators, as LGBT venues in particular need to be protected.

"It could be listed as an asset of community value, which would restrict its change of use and mean it would have to stay as a hotel, nightclub and bar.

"I don't mind who runs it, as long as it remains a prominent LGBT venue in our city."

Brighton and Hove Pride organisers said: "This is sad news. Legends has been such big supporter of Pride and community fundraising in our City over the years."

Legends has been contacted by The Argus for comment.

Have you been impacted by this story, or do you have any memories of the venue you'd like to share? Email: aidan.barlow@theargus.co.uk