Dartford Council and Administrators Take Action Against Squatters in Former ATIK Nightclub

Dartford Council Collaborates with Administrators to Remove “Squatters” from Former ATIK Nightclub in Essex Road
A battle is underway to reclaim a once-popular nightclub in Dartford, which has been overtaken by a group of “raving” demonstrators.

The Dartford Council has announced that it is working alongside administrators to evict a group of individuals who have taken up residence in the former ATIK venue on Essex Road.

Starbass UK, a group of protesters, have occupied the now-empty club as part of their “Save Our Nightlife” campaign, which they have dubbed a “rave uprising.”

The entrance to the club has been barricaded with barriers, flags, and a smiley face sign, as seen in videos posted on the group’s social media platforms. The group claims to have gained access to the venue through “squatting loopholes” in order to draw attention to the struggles of young creatives in the music and entertainment industry.

The council, on the other hand, is working with the administrators responsible for the building to facilitate a swift handover of the property.

A council spokesperson stated, “We are aware that a group of individuals has taken up residence in the building, and both the police and the council are closely monitoring the situation with the intention of removing them from the property as soon as possible.”

While it has been reported that music is being played inside the venue, the police have not received any noise complaints.

A spokesperson for Starbass UK, who wished to remain anonymous, explained their methods for gaining access to abandoned spaces. They stated, “We have noticed a trend in British nightlife where everyone is being funneled into super clubs. While we support growth and opportunities for young creatives, the increasing costs and closures of clubs are limiting the market for creative opportunities and eroding our musical heritage.”

The spokesperson also claimed that their group does not break into venues, but instead finds creative ways to enter, such as through an open window or with the help of a disgruntled employee. It is unclear how they gained access to the Dartford venue.

The two-story club, which has gone by various names such as Scala, Flicks, Air and Breathe, and Zens and Library, has been a staple of the Dartford nightlife for over four decades. However, last month it closed its doors after the company that operated it, Rekom UK, went into administration due to financial struggles.

In a statement, Rekom UK chairman Peter Marks said, “After assessing our business, we were unable to come to an agreement with our landlord and were forced to surrender the lease for ATIK Dartford. Unfortunately, this means the club has closed and our staff has been made redundant.”

When asked for comment, Kent Police referred the matter to the council. The council, in turn, is determined to secure a positive future for the community, as the former nightclub has played an important role in Dartford’s nighttime economy for many years.

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