Londoners woke up this morning to the sad news that Islington Council revoked Fabric’s licence at last night’s review hearing. You may have some questions...
What does the decision mean?
Fabric can no longer operate without a licence, meaning that the club will shut permanently. Fabric’s licence was suspended following the death of an 18-year-old at the club last month.
Will the club shut for good?
The club has the chance to appeal the council’s decision, though it is not yet clear what their next move will be. They have 21 days to lodge an appeal at a magistrate’s court. Fabric successfully fought a previous ruling in 2015 with this process but whether this can happen again remains to be seen.
Who made the decision?
Islington Council. A sub-licensing committee made up of three local councillors – Councillors Williamson, Poole and Shaikh – questioned both the police and Fabric management at last night’s impassioned hearing at Islington Town Hall. Following a five-hour debate, and one-hour spent deliberating, the committee ruled at 1am this morning that ‘a culture of drug use exists at the club which the existing management and Security appears incapable of controlling’. They also stated ‘the Sub-Committee has considered adding further conditions but has come to the conclusion that this would not address the serious concerns that they have with Management of the premises.’
Was it to do with property?
Social media was exploding with #FabricReview comments last night and this morning. It was impossible to miss the flurry of comments suspecting that Islington Council’s decision was connected in some way to the redevelopment of Farringdon. The Museum of London is relocating from the Barbican to a series of buildings in West Smithfield close to Fabric – a move expected to cost between £150 million and £200 million. The relocation is part of a large-scale plan to create an area being dubbed ‘the Smithfield Cultural Quarter’. Conspiracy theory maybe, but one that shouldn’t be dismissed completely, although it didn't come up at all during the five-hour hearing.
UPDATE: An Islington Council spokesman said: ‘The decision of Islington Council’s licensing committee on Fabric’s licence was based solely on the evidence, submissions, and representations put before the committee. To suggest anything else is simply wrong. For the avoidance of doubt, Islington Council is not the owner of the building and has no financial interest in the site.’
What has London Mayor Sadiq Khan said this morning?
‘London’s iconic clubs are an essential part of our cultural landscape. Clubbing needs to be safe but I’m disappointed that Fabric, Islington Council and the Metropolitan Police were unable to reach agreement on how to address concerns about public safety. As a result of this decision, thousands of people who enjoyed going to Fabric as an essential part of London's nightlife will lose out. The issues faced by Fabric point to a wider problem of how we protect London’s night-time economy, while ensuring it is safe and enjoyable for everyone. Over the past eight years, London has lost 50 percent of its nightclubs and 40 percent of its live music venues. This decline must stop if London is to retain its status as a 24-hour city with a world-class nightlife. I am in the process of appointing a Night Czar who will bring together key stakeholders including club and venue owners, local authorities, the Metropolitan Police and members of the public. No single organisation or public body can solve these problems alone – we all need to work together to ensure London thrives as a 24-hour city, in a way that is safe and enjoyable for everyone.’ So, not much then.