London clubbing institution will have to abide by strict new licensing conditions
Today, the UK dance music community got the news it had barely dared hoped for: fabric is to be allowed to open its doors once more, following negotiations with Islington Council.
The agreement means that the club's appeal against the decision made by the authorities in September to revoke its licence, which was scheduled to begin next week, will not now have to go ahead. Instead, the club will be able to reopen at an unspecified date in the near future, but with new licensing conditions in place, which are outlined in a joint statement issued by the club and the council:
- The use of a new ID-scanning system on entry to the club
- Enhanced searching procedures and controls
- Covert surveillance within the club
- Life-time bans for anyone found in possession of drugs, whether on entry or within the club
- Life-time 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 2000 hours on a Friday until 0800 hours on the following Monday.
The document also says: "Fabric accepts that its procedures in relation to searching were insufficient, as were its procedures to prevent the consumption and dealing of drugs within the club itself. Fabric accepts that the police acted reasonably in making the application for a review and that the Authority's sub-committee was fully entitled to revoke its licence. Fabric repudiates the online abuse aimed at Committee members and Council staff and will permanently exclude anyone who has been found to be involved."
While this means the decision isn't an unalloyed victory for the club - many would argue that fabric already very stringent drug-checking procedures in place, and that to blame fabric for the handful of tragic deaths that have occurred in and around its premises is therefore somewhat unfair - let's not allow that to temper our enjoyment of what is undoubtedly good news for the London club scene, and for UK dance music culture in general.
In response to the news, London mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: "JUST ANNOUNCED: @fabriclondon will reopen. Thanks to all who helped find a solution that protects the club’s future & keeps clubbers safe."
A post on fabric's own blog, meanwhile, reads: "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. We've even seen people sporting their #savefabric t-shirts on the other side of this planet showing just how big this thing is.
So, thank you to all of you. Without the strength of your backing this would not have happened.
You saved fabric.
We'll be back with some news about #saveourculture and our next steps when we can."