An iconic Reading nightclub could be demolished and turned into six flats by its current owners.

An application has been submitted by KK Property Investments to demolish the After Dark club – which has been open in the town since 1973 – to create a three-storey building with six self-contained flats.

Zahid Khan, who holds the club’s licence, is also one of the three co-directors of KK Property Investments.

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Two previous attempts to knock down the club and turn it into flats have been rejected by the Reading Borough Council (RBC).

Regardless of the latest application, the club could be shut down in a few weeks, with a Magistrates’ Court hearing taking place on January 31 to rule on the council’s licence revocation.

The After Dark – which has hosted legends such as Radiohead – has remained open since the revocation in June.

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There are currently two future events planned at the club.

The first is one, La Bonne Musique Presents: Fauzia, takes place this Friday (January 17).

The other event is on the evening of the Reading Magistrates’ Court hearing.

‘Stompin Mon presents Dial-A-Rave’ is headlined by 1-800 Girls and takes place on January 31 from 10pm to 2am.

Court hearing on future of the venue

The After Dark could be forced to shut down at the end of the month if a judge chooses to uphold a decision by RBC to take away its premises licence.

The club, on London Street, has appealed to Reading Magistrates court, which will hear the case on January 31.

A judge could either uphold the revocation or send the case back to councillors on the licensing committee who made the decision in June and ask them to reconsider.

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The council decided in June to take away his licence to “safeguard the public”, after Thames Valley Police raised concerns that the club was running “high-risk events” attracting customers with a “propensity for extreme violence”.

Speaking to Local Democracy Reporter Alex Seabrook in December, Mr Khan said this refers to just one fight, in November 2018, during a drill night, when a brawl spilled out onto the street and several police officers were called to the scene.

He added: “One night of trouble shouldn’t mean revocation of the licence.”

“Our record speaks for itself [and] our security keeps our customers safe. It’s the safest venue in all of Reading.”

Other concerns that led to the licence being revoked

Noise complaints were cited as a concern, with multiple complaints from neighbours that music was being played too loudly late at night.

But Mr Khan said most of the complaints came from just one neighbour.

The After Dark has collected witness statements from other neighbours to help its case in the appeal hearing, showing that they support the club.

The club has stayed open since the council’s decision in June, pending the appeal to the Magistrates’ Court.

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Since June, Mr Khan said the club has improved its soundproofing and security.

He said: “We had an independent acoustic expert come in. He did a noise report and made recommendations.

“We’ve carried out quite a few, with only one or two left. We’re hopeful to get them done by the court date.”

The improvements to soundproofing reportedly include buying a new sound system, a noise meter which records how loud the music is, and insulation.

“Even on our maximum levels, we’re not a nuisance to our neighbours,” said Mr Khan.

Mr Khan said: “We want to get through the revocation appeal and come out stronger. We hope the venue will continue. It’s in good hands.

“It’s just a crazy place, underground, and unique — a space for so many communities. We’re looking forward to working with the police and the council after this.”

The future of the iconic club, and now the building as well, has never been less clear.