London losing major venues is, unfortunately, a rather familiar tale and now the 2,500 capacity club Fabric is joining the ranks.
You may know how the club has been closed for a few weeks, due to the sad drug-related deaths of two teenage clubbers at the venue. The venue was temporarily closed as a result, with their license pending review.
Despite a petition signed by 150,000 people asking for the venue to be saved, Fabric has had it’s licensed revoked permanently, essentially ensuring it’s closure. This was decided by the Islington borough council, who ruled that the venue was “inadequate and in breach of the licence”.
They also went on to add that covert police operations suggested that patrons were openly buying and taking illegal drugs on the premises, and that staff should have been aware.
The council said: ““Staff intervention and security was grossly inadequate in light of the overwhelming evidence that it was abundantly obvious that patrons in the club were on drugs and manifesting symptoms showing that they were. This included sweating, glazed red eyes and staring into space, and people asking for help.”
Stuart Ryan of the Met police submitted documents to the council, which agreed with the drugs concerns: “f the premises is permitted to remain open and operating in its current form, then there is a strong possibility that further drug-related deaths will occur.”
A spokesperson for the Met police also showed support for the council’s decision, saying: “We support this decision made by Islington council’s licensing committee. London has a world renowned nighttime economy and people should be able to enjoy it safely, without concerns of serious crime. The Met is committed to working in partnership with those responsible for this sector to ensure that this happens.”
However, there are naturally more than a few critics of the decision made by the Islington council.
Co-founder Cameron Leslie refuted the notion that Fabric had a problem with security: “The notion of Fabric being a safe haven for drugs is frankly insulting. We established a pioneering confiscation procedure. We take suspected drug dealers to a monitoring room and they are arrested.”
“My partner Keith Reilly stood up to organized crime when Fabric opened in 1999 [to prevent gangs selling drugs in the club]. He was forced to wear a bulletproof vest for a month. We take our responsibilities very seriously.”
While there are calls for appeals to be made to the council, Leslie has said that an appeal is unlikely. So it seems this is the end of Fabric, and a massive loss for the London nightlife scene.