The world-famous Fabric nightclub is to be reopened after it had its licence revoked in September following the drug-related deaths of two 18-year-olds. Islington Council has confirmed the much-loved London nightclub will reopen after an agreement was met with all parties, including a clause that 18-year-olds will not longer be permitted on weekends.
The licence decision was set to be appealed against by the owners of the club, but the council said that following a number of meetings between Fabric's directors and senior management, as well as the police, the club will be allowed to reopen with new additional conditions that must be met.
The closure decision was met with dismay from clubbers and the world of music. A huge online campaign was started to convince Islington Council to allow the club to continue.
The licence was withdrawn following a review in the wake of the deaths of Ryan Browne and Jack Crossley in the space of six weeks.
Documents from the Metropolitan Police, released to the licensing committee, described the club as a "safe haven" for people to take drugs.
As part of the new agreement, Fabric has agreed to improve upon the "failings" that resulted in the deaths of the two 18-year-olds – the fifth and sixth deaths to occur at the club since 2011.
The council said Fabric will not reopen until it believes the club has fully complied with the new conditions.
A spokesperson for Islington council said: "In the light of Fabric's acceptance that there have been failings, and given the commitment that its directors and management have shown by their development of the operations manual and acceptance of these new conditions, the authority is now satisfied that the statutory licensing objectives may be met short of revocation of the premises licence. It is for these reasons that it has decided not to oppose Fabric's appeal. Fabric Life will pay Islington's costs in these proceedings directly and not from the monies pledged by supporters.
The new measures include:
• The use of a new I.D. scanning system on entry to the club
• Enhanced searching procedures and controls
• Covert surveillance within the club
• Lifetime bans for anyone found in possession of drugs, whether on entry or within the club
• Lifetime bans for anyone trying to buy drugs in the club
• Enhanced monitoring and external auditing for compliance against procedures
• Physical changes to the club, including improved lighting and additional CCTV provision
• A new security company
• Persons under 19 years of age shall not be permitted to be on the premises as a customer or guest from 8pm on a Friday until 8am on the following Monday or on any day during the hours that the operators promote a Core Club Night.
"For its part, Fabric understands and accepts that the additional conditions it has agreed to are meaningless unless its operational practices ensure each of them is complied with. Its directors and management remain committed to ensuring compliance. They are committed to ensuring the safety of their patrons."
In a statement, Fabric said: "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."
Superintendent Nick Davies, from Islington police, said:"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.
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London said: "I am delighted that this agreement has been reached and that Fabric will now reopen. I have always said that we needed to find a common-sense solution that protects both the future of Fabric and the safety of all clubbers – as this does. I especially want to thank Islington Council for working so hard to come to this solution."