IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Delight as deal is agreed in court to reopen Fabric nightclub

Nightclub’s lawyers and Town Hall officials agree a new set of licensing conditions for Farringdon venue

21 November, 2016 — By Joe Cooper, Koos Couvée

Save Fabric campaigners outside the famous nightclub after it was closed over the summer

FABRIC, the iconic Farringdon nightclub, will reopen under a strict new licensing regime after a judge rubber-stamped a deal with Islington Council.

The agreement, exclusively revealed in the Tribune last week, was clinched at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court earlier today after lawyers for Fabric and the Town Hall agreed a new set of licensing conditions under which the club will operate.

They include stipulations that clubbers aged under 19 will not be able to attend main club nights, constant CCTV monitoring, a lifetime ban for anyone caught even asking for drugs, and ID scanners.

The council controversially shut down the club in September after the Met police forced a review following two ecstasy-related deaths over the summer. Officers described it as a “safe haven” for illegal drug use – something Fabric strongly rejects.

Phillip Kolvin QC, for Fabric, said he was “eternally grateful” to the supporters of the club who raised £320,000 to fund its legal battle, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and Islington South MP Emily Thornberry, who had expressed support for the club.

He added: “Many of London’s clubs have closed in recent years. If London is to maintain its global reputation, it’s essential that where problems are identified they must be thoroughly discussed wherever possible.”

Ranjit Bhose QC, for the council, said: “We are now satisfied that the management of Fabric understand the processes they need to [have in place] to make sure Fabric is a safe place for young clubbers.”

Agreeing the deal, Judge Robin McPhee ordered Fabric to pay Islington’s legal costs. This will not come out of the pot of money donated by supporters.

He said: “I am satisfied that the council and Fabric have pulled together to get a set of workable conditions to prevent drug use and supply in the future.”

An appeal hearing was scheduled for November 28, but a deal was reached a week early after Fabric submitted a new 155-page “operational policies and procedures manual”, setting out in detail the security, welfare and medical facilities to be provided at the club, as well as management and audit procedures, as part of its appeal.

It has suggested 32 new licence conditions to give further assurance that, if permitted to reopen, the club would operate “to a gold standard”.

It is common in licensing cases for the opposing parties to agree a deal before it comes to court. The move will save both parties thousands of pounds in legal fees.

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