THE licensing board and Police Scotland have effectively forced the closure of The Arches nightclub in Glasgow by revoking its late license.

A licensing board ruled against the venue yesterday after police said there were “potentially lethal and profound consequences” if drug use in the venue was not addressed.

Lawyers for the venue claimed, however, that the police complaints only arose because of staff alerting them to the drug finds, claiming the venue’s stringent approach was being used against it.

At yesterday’s meeting the licensing board rejected this argument, and said that the strict and robust drug searches at the venue were not enough to deter club-goers from bringing illegal substances into the venue, effectively revoking its nightclub license.

As well as a nightclub, the Arches is a world-renowned arts venue, with daily performances and exhibitions running alongside its legendary club nights.

Set up in 1991, the not-for-profit organisation subsidises its arts space with revenue generated from opening the venue as a club and concert space, attracting thousands of people every week and establishing itself as one of the best venues in Europe.

Police had previously attempted to close the venue after the drug-related death of 17-year-old Regan McColl but the licensing board ruled in favour of the Arches, saying that they has done all they could to prevent such incidents.

The new midnight curfew for the venue is now likely to force the closure of the Arches as a whole, due to the loss of the revenue generated by club nights.

Mark Anderson, executive director of the Arches, said: “We are obviously very disappointed with today’s outcome. We will now have to consider our options but the impact of this decision may well result in the closure of one of Europe’s most highly regarded arts venues and a key contributor to Glasgow’s night time economy.”

Police solicitor Duncan Campbell said: “It cannot be stressed enough the potentially lethal consequences that may arise from this situation should these matters not be addressed.

“By far these premises pose the greatest concern to Glasgow Division and the biggest drain on police resources. Due to the culture of drug misuse associated with the premises, the licence holder is unable to operate the premises in a suitable manner.

Within hours of the announcement more than1,200 people had signed a petition to re-instate the venue’s club license.

The petition on, set up by Callum Smith, stated: “The Arches makes more effort than any club in the city to keep people safe — with dedicated first aid rooms, well trained stewarding staff and robust policies to ensure the safety of clubbers.” Scottish Greens General Election candidate Zara Kitson was among those who signed the petition, saying the decision was an example of Glasgow City Council at “their finest”. “Candle-lit vigil with glow sticks anyone?” she added.

Many people also took to twitter to hit out at the decision, paying tribute to the contribution the venue has played to Scotland’s arts scene as well as the cultural aspect of the city.

Playwright and theatre director David Leddy said: “The Arches must not close. It is a world-renowned arts centre and vital part of Scotland’s cultural economy.”

Glasgow-based performer and writer Keiran Hurley backed Leddy’s calls, saying: “The arts venue wing of the Arches is such a vital part of the whole ecology of theatre and new work in Scotland. It needs the club to survive.”

Others claimed that the licensing board decision was “pointless” and would not help to combat drug use in the city centre.

Lauren Gallagher said: “Closing The Arches won’t stop anyone taking drugs. People will just take them elsewhere so it is really achieving nothing.”

Liam Mclaughlan said: “Rather than deal with the real issues surrounding drug use and safety, Police Scotland have decided to close the Arches. Deary me.”

It is unclear as yet if the venue will take steps to appeal.