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People dancing in club
Photograph: Oval Space

Bethnal Green venue Oval Space has lost its licence

The club has closed after an alleged shooting on its dancefloor

Written by
Ellie Muir

The multi-purpose venue Oval Space in Bethnal Green has had its licence revoked following an alleged shooting on the club’s dancefloor in August.

Oval Space has sat in the middle of London’s music, arts and entertainment scene since it opened in 2013. Though notables from Frank Ocean to Vin Diesel have passed through its green room, Oval Space is known for a variety of club nights. Now, it will be shuttered after a decision was made concerning its license renewal on Tuesday September 27. Though the organisers have been campaigning to save the nightclub, Oval Space was also condemned for other alleged ongoing issues.

Dean James, the owner of the London venue, told the Tower Hamlets licensing committee: ‘I’m ashamed of what’s happened at our venue. I apologise to the police and I apologise to the committee.’

‘It was a catastrophic failure of the security company, we know that. There are some mitigating circumstances - it’s the most difficult operating environment that I’ve ever known in the business in 22 years.’

Lawyer Paddy Whur, who represented Dean James during the meeting, asked the committee not to revoke the venue’s licence as this would ‘kill the business and make 70 people redundant’ but instead consider other options. However, neighbours complain that the incidents that allegedly occurred at the venue has caused roadblocks and disruption in the area.

The club has now had its licence revoked and must cease operations as a venue. But Oval Space has the opportunity to appeal the decision.

Tower Hamlets Council’s website states: ‘The appeal must be made to the Magistrates Court. A notice of appeal must be given to the justices’ chief executive for the Magistrates Court within a period of 21 days beginning with the day on which the appellant was notified by the Licensing Authority.’

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