A NIGHTCLUB manager says "time is running out" for venues without urgent financial support amid the pandemic.

Damien Fell, programmer and general manager at The Arch nightclub in Kings Road, Brighton, says action must be taken to help night time venues survive after nearly 11 months of closure due to Covid-19.

He said: “It’s been disappointing to see the lack of support for nightclubs in Brighton.

READ MORE: Venues The Rossi Bar and the Brunswick saved from imminent closure 

"We have a thriving city and scene, with a large percentage of our customers travelling from surrounding areas, including London.

“The city is a melting pot of culture and diversity and we pride ourselves on communicating the values and ethos of the city through our promotion of the best new and upcoming talent, in addition to welcoming big international names.

“Very soon we might not be able to do that anymore if support is not extended, while we are unable to reopen.

“We want to continue adding value to the city’s nightlife and community but time is running out.”

The popular club, originally known as the The Zap in the 80s and 90s, was nominated for the best club venue in the country by ticket seller Skiddle less than two years ago.

The venue has hosted numerous live acts and DJs over the years, from the Prodigy and Basement Jaxx to Brighton's own Fatboy Slim.

It comes after an industry body warning that nightclubs across the country are facing "extinction" this year without urgent government action.

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) says more than 80 per cent of nightclub businesses will not survive past February without financial support.

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According to a recent survey by the trade body, 88 per cent of late night venues in the UK are in rent arrears by more than two months, while over two thirds had made redundancies for more than 60 per cent of their workforce by the end of last year.

The survey also revealed 43 per cent of nightclubs had not received any grant support from the government.

While some late night venues received funding from the government's culture recovery fund, including Concorde 2 and the Green Door Store in Brighton, many clubs across the country were denied support from the Arts Council.

The Argus: Concorde 2 received a grant from the government's Culture Recovery FundConcorde 2 received a grant from the government's Culture Recovery Fund

Michael Kill, chief executive of NTIA, accused the government of "ignoring the sector" and said it is being "culled".

He said: “We are on the cusp of losing a cultural institution. The government has failed to recognise its economic and cultural value.

“We are a world leader in electronic music and clubs and have been a breeding ground for contemporary music talent, events and DJs for decades.

"Nightclubs have made a huge contribution to our culture sector and are renowned globally.

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"As an industry we have faced extreme adversity during this pandemic, battling against financial hardship, increased regulatory constraints, business-critical planning changes, financial services turning their backs on us and the continued refusal for the leaders of this country to mention nightclubs or late night venues within the narrative.

“This is not negligence, this an intention to cull the sector."

According to NITA, the industry is also threatened by proposed changes to planning laws which could see landlords choosing to convert nightclubs into housing.

Mr Kill added: "The current proposed changes in planning reform under permitted development rights is a huge threat to the sector as this has the potential to allow for the demolition and rebuilding of 'vacant and redundant' light industrial buildings as homes.

The Argus: The Hope and Ruin in Queens Road, which received a grant from the Culture Recovery FundThe Hope and Ruin in Queens Road, which received a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund

“Given that over 88 per cent of nightclub businesses are over two quarters of rent in arrears, we are poised for a windfall of landlords reclaiming their property at the end of March and utilising this mechanism to convert many of our much-loved cultural spaces and social environments into housing.

"These amazing creative spaces are the breeding grounds for nurturing talent, bringing communities together, building resilience and expanding the global phenomenon around UK club culture and electronic and live music.

“The government needs to support nightclubs and late night venues with a robust financial package tailored to support businesses that have been closed since March, and a roadmap giving a clear indication of the timelines for re-opening against the backdrop of the vaccination rollout, to give hope to many who are overburdened with debt.”