Fabric reopening after last-minute appeal hearing under 'strict conditions'

Islington Council agreed to let the London club reopen under a strict set of conditions

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The Independent Culture

London nightclub Fabric will reopen following its controversial closure earlier this year by Islington Council.

Judge Robin McPhee made the final decision after Fabric's management agreed with the council on a set of conditions under which the premises must run.

Those conditions – drawn from a 155-page “gold standard” for security put forward by Fabric this month – include clubbers under 19 not being allowed onto the premises, CCTV monitoring, ID scanners and a lifetime ban for anyone caught dealing or in possession of drugs. 

The appeal was heard at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court, where a judge passed the appeal. It is unclear when exactly the Charterhouse Street venue will open its doors.

Ranjit Bhose said on behalf of the council, according to the Islington Gazette: “What the council has been concerned with is whether Fabric can operate with a true zero-tolerance towards drugs.

“We are now satisfied revocation of the licence is not necessary. Fabric has accepted procedure for searching and drug dealing within the club were not sufficient. It has now accepted 38 new conditions as well as its 155-page operating manual. The authority is satisfied Fabric understands what has to be done.”

Judge McPhee said of the decision: “I am satisfied that the council and Fabric pulled together to get a set of workable conditions to prevent drug use and supply.”

Following the verdict, Fabric issued a statement thanking all those who supported the club.

Fabric's statement in full

We are hugely thankful to be able to confirm the news that we have won our licence back. We owe everything to our supporters. We really would not be here today without your unparalleled support and generosity. So many different people stepped up to put their voices to our cause, artists from all corners of the music community, fellow promoters who have put on huge events from us and clubbers from around the world who all united behind us. We’ve even seen people sporting their #savefabric T Shirts on the other side of this planet showing just how big this thing is.    

So, thank you to all of you. Without the strength of your backing this would not have happened.   

You saved Fabric.   

We’ll be back with some news about #saveourculture and our next steps when we can.  

Metropolitan police have also offered a statement on Fabric's reopening, with Superintendent Nick Davies, from Islington police, saying: “I fully welcome Fabric's offer to have additional conditions placed on their licence to address these issues and their new zero-tolerance approach to drugs.”

He continued: “Police will continue to robustly enforce the licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder and maintaining public safety. We will be monitoring the ongoing conduct of Fabric and the activities that take place within it. If there are further breaches of the licence, Fabric should be in no doubt that they will be challenged by Islington police and action taken.

“I know Fabric is a venue that holds a great deal of affection in people's hearts. We had no choice but to take action to safeguard clubbers and now Fabric has agreed to considerable changes I hope the venue can continue to operate for many years to come within the boundaries of the new licensing conditions.”

The nightspot, based in Farringdon, had initially closed temporarily following the deaths of two teenagers from suspected drug overdoses earlier in the year. Its licence was revoked ahead of Islington Council’s final ruling in September that saw the popular spot closed for good.

Following the council’s decision to close Fabric, thousands signed a petition to save the nightclub with a campaign named #saveourculture funding Fabric’s legal battle.

Shortly after the news was announced, documents released by the council suggested that the closure was a pre-planned event orchestrated by a cash-strapped council.

Chairman of the Night Time Industries Association speaking after the closing of Fabric

Earlier this month, London mayor Sadiq Khan, who previously urged the two parties to reach an agreement, appointed broadcaster Amy Lamé as the city’s first ever Night Czar, a popular choice considering her stripes as an LGBT event-runner since the mid-Nineties.

Khan said of the decision to reopen Fabric: “Fantastic news. Confirmed that Fabric has reached a new agreement with Islington Council and will reopen. Thank you, Islington.

“Fabric re-opening shows we can find common-sense solutions that protect both the future of clubs and the safety of all clubbers.

“Night Czar Amy Lamé has already held conversations with all parties in the Fabric case as part of her role supporting London’s nightlife.”

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