IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

EXCLUSIVE: Deal to reopen Fabric at advanced stage after secret talks over nightclub’s future

Famous nightclub's licence was revoked after two clubbers died after taking ecstasy

20 November, 2016 — By Joe Cooper, Koos Couvée

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

LAWYERS for Fabric and the Town Hall are in advanced discussions aimed at agreeing licensing conditions which would allow the Farringdon nightclub to reopen, the Tribune can exclusively reveal.

A deal could be reached as early as next week if the parties are able to get a judge at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court to rubber-stamp the agreement.

Both sides have refused to make any comment ahead of a court date on November 28, at which Fabric will appeal against Islington’s controversial decision in September to revoke its licence.

A review was sparked after 18-year-olds Ryan Browne and Jack Crossley died after taking ecstasy at the club on June 26 and August 6.

Neither side denied talks are taking place when pressed by the Tribune.

And Fabric co-owner Cameron Leslie revealed the existence of a “non-disclosure agreement”, adding: “I’m not at liberty to say whether [discussions] are being had or not.” The Town Hall did not respond to questions surrounding the need for a non-disclosure agreement. Such agreements are legal contracts, setting out how parties share information or ideas in confidence – evidence that discussions are continuing.

Last week, 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 would save both parties thousands of pounds in legal fees.

Asked whether he was hopeful the club could reopen, Mr Leslie added: “I hope so. We wouldn’t have appealed otherwise.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has previously urged the two parties, and Islington Police, to come together “to find an approach that protects clubbers’ safety and the future of the club”.

The club’s licence was with­drawn after the Met forced a review following the ecstasy-related deaths. Officers described it as a “safe haven” for illegal drug use, something Fabric strongly rejects.

Saving Fabric would be good publicity for the council, which suffered a backlash over its decision from clubbers, DJs and politicians, including Islington South MP Emily Thornberry.

Almost £320,000 has been raised by Fabric supporters to fund the legal battle.

The nightspot has secured the services of leading licensing barrister Philip Kolvin QC.

A council spokesman said: “We don’t have any other comment ahead of the appeal, beyond our statement from September.”

 

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