Fabric closure fuels concern for London's late-night venues

By Sophie Witts contact

- Last updated on GMT

Fabric closure fuels concern for London's late-night venues
The closure of Fabric, one of London’s most infamous nightclubs, has sparked widespread concern over the future of the UK’s late-night sector.

Islington Council permanently revoked the club’s licence on Tuesday (6 September) after it was suspended in August following the death of two teenagers.

The Metropolitan Police had criticised Fabric’s security measures and warned that keeping the club open could lead to more drug-related deaths.

Fabric said it was ‘extremely disappointed’ with the decision, which would cost 250 staff their jobs.

The ruling has led to an outpouring of support for the club from hospitality trade bodies and operators, with many claiming late-night venues are being treated as ‘scape-goats’ for wider issues.

Writing on its Facebook page Fabric said: “Closing Fabric is not the answer to the drug-related problems clubs like ours are working to prevent, and sets a troubling precedent for the future of London's night time economy.”

‘Irreparable damage’

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said that in the past eight years London had lost 50 per cent of its nightclubs and 40 per cent of its live music venues.

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has called on local authorities to work with the late-night sector instead of ‘fighting against it’ to prevent more venue closures.

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the ALMR, said: “Mayor of London Sadiq Khan called for a ‘common sense’ solution, which is exactly the kind of working relationship the licensed hospitality sector is trying to foster, and exactly what we did not get from Islington Council.

“Both local and national authorities need to work closely with the sector, not fight against it, or we risk losing more venues and doing irreparable damage to the UK’s music culture.”

Industry future

The Council’s decision came after 150,000 people signed a petition calling for Fabric to be kept open.

Street Feast and Dinerama founder Jonathan Downey tweeted that ‘every bar, club and late-night operator must combine to fight this stupidity and appeal this decision’.

He called on the petition’s supporters to raise funds to fight the ruling ‘for Fabric and for others’.

Concern has been growing over the closure of many of London’s famous night-time venues, despite the launch of popular initiatives such as the Night Tube.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has pledged to appoint a ‘Night Czar’​ to address the issue, charged with protecting London’s late-night industry.

“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,” said Khan.

“This decline must stop if London is to retain its status as a 24-hour city with a world-class nightlife.

“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.”‎

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Openings, Pub & Bar

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