Retail scheme is no joke for comedy club

Benn Brier at Mr Benn's Comedy Club, Albion Street, Leeds
Benn Brier at Mr Benn's Comedy Club, Albion Street, Leeds
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BUILDING work on a new landmark shopping complex is proving no laughing matter for a beleaguered Leeds comedy club.

Mr Bens on Albion Street could be forced to close after experiencing a 40 per cent drop in trade over the past year.

Comedy Club owner Ben Brier claims the loss is due to restricted access of Boar Lane, which was put in place for building work at Trinity Leeds.

Mr Brier said the restricted access, which is in place from Monday to Thursday, has affected takings during prime comedy slots.

He said: “Someone needs to take action.

“Business was just starting to increase but then they closed the road from Monday to Thursday.

“There is a small gap but customers have contacted me to say they turned up but thought it was closed.

“It has had a huge impact on trade. I am running a business and now having to take on a large company single-handedly.

“A year ago they put scaffolding across my venue for three months and roadworks that shut off access.”

Mr Brier also explained that his music system was flooded after construction work was carried out in the unit above his.

He added: “But I want to stay here, it is a nice venue that is perfect for a comedy club and I have been here for two years now.

“It’s been a year now and I just want to see something done.”

A spokesman for Trinity Leeds, said: “We will be speaking with our contractor about the issues Mr Brier has raised, with a view to resolving them as soon as possible.”

Before becoming a comedy club, the Mr Bens site was known as the Trash nightclub.

Trinity Leeds is a £350m development.

It is the largest retail and leisure scheme currently under construction in the UK and will take up 1,000,000 square feet.

The complex is due to open its doors in spring 2013.

Several leading fashion retailers and restaurants will set up shop in the centre as well as an Everyman Cinema.

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