London club Fabric will remain closed
London club Fabric will remain closed after having its licence revoked by Islington Council.
One of Britain’s best known nightclubs, Fabric, has been forced to close permanently after its licence was revoked following the drug-related deaths of two people.
Fabric’s campaign to stay open had been backed by the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, though he said it was not in his gift to intervene in licensing issues. Ahead of the ruling, Khan said: “London’s iconic clubs are an essential part of our cultural landscape … My team have spoken to all involved in the current situation and I am urging them to find a common sense solution that ensures the club remains open while protecting the safety of those who want to enjoy London’s clubbing scene.”
Members of the council sat down yesterday evening (Tuesday, September 6th) at Islington Town Hall with representatives from fabric, Islington Public Health Authority, Islington License Authority and the Metropolitan Police. The hearing, which lasted more than six hours, reached its conclusion just after 1 AM on Wednesday morning when Subcommittee Chair Flora Williamson read out the ruling against the Farringdon venue.
After deliberation that lasted into the early hours of Wednesday morning, the local council decided that searches by security staff at the London venue had been “inadequate and in breach of the licence”.
“People entering the club were inadequately searched,” Islington borough council’s decision read.
“A culture of drugs exists at the club which the existing management and security appear incapable of controlling,” she concluded. “This subcommittee has considered adding further conditions, but has come to the conclusion that this would not address the serious concern that they have with management of the premises.”
Fabric’s licence was suspended and put up for review in August following the recent drug-related deaths of two 18-year-olds, Ryan Browne and Jack Crossley. The club has been closed since Friday, August 12th. In that time, the global dance music community has rallied around fabric, with a change.org petition garnering more than 140,000 signatures. Islington South and Finsbury MP Emily Thornberry also voiced her support, writing via Facebook that “the closure of fabric cannot be the answer.”
Representatives from Fabric have issued several statements of their own, promising to independently review the club’s procedures with regards to safety and drug policy. Along similar lines, director and co-founder Cameron Leslie also pledged to pursue a “gold standard” for safe clubbing after the Met Police called the venue “a safe haven for the supply and consumption of illegal drugs.”
Leading figures who played at the venue, one of the most important for fans of electronic music, joined regulars in expressing their sorrow at the decision. A Change.org petition to halt the closure of the club had reached almost 150,000 signatures.
Jacob Husley, who initiated the petition and has worked at the club’s Sunday night party for the past eight years, said of the decision: “We are in shock. I am feeling a mixture of disbelief and anger and sadness … It would be a devastating blow for London and culture, and clubs across the UK. It sets a precedent.”
He did not know whether the club’s owners would appeal but said he hoped “we are not finished with this”.
Others wondered if the site now faced the same prospect as other legendary music venues such as Manchester’s Haçienda – now luxury flats.