London's Fabric nightclub to reopen as it agrees new licensing deal
One of London's biggest nightclubs can reopen just months after a council revoked its licence.
Fabric, the iconic nightclub based in Farringdon, central London, was forced to close in September after Islington Council found it had a "culture of drug use" which staff were "incapable of controlling".
The venue was to appeal against the decision at Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court next week, but reached an agreement with the Metropolitan Police and the council.
The agreement, which introduces new conditions to the club's licence, was approved by a judge at the court on Monday, a spokeswoman for the council said.
It includes a ban on anyone under the age of 19 entering the venue between 8pm on Friday and 8am on Monday and also states that anyone found in possession of drugs in the club or who tries to buy drugs will be handed a life ban from the venue.
Islington Council said the changes, offered by Fabric, were "designed to ensure a zero-tolerance approach" to drugs.
The club closed temporarily after the drug-related deaths of two 18-year-olds earlier this year, and in August Scotland Yard applied to the council for the licence to be reviewed.
A joint statement released by the council and the club following the decision said: "Fabric is committed to doing all it reasonably can to ensure that no more of its clubbers come to drug-related harm.
"It also recognises that there need to be, and will be, changes to its management structure and accountability."
The statement added: "The authority welcomes Fabric's acceptance of all these matters. It is now satisfied that Fabric's directors and senior management understand precisely what has to be done to ensure that Fabric is a safe environment for young clubbers, and that zero tolerance to drugs means precisely that."
The club has also pledged to introduce a new ID scanning system, improve search procedures and introduce covert surveillance in the venue.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who previously spoke out against the decision to close Fabric, said he was "delighted" that an agreement had been reached.
He said: "We needed to find a common-sense solution that protects both the future of Fabric and the safety of all clubbers - and we have. I especially want to thank Islington Council for working so hard to help find a solution".
"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".
"Over the past eight years, London has lost 50 per cent of its nightclubs and 40 per cent of its live music venues. This decline must stop if London is to retain its status as a 24-hour city with a world-class nightlife."
Following the announcement, Fabric thanked those who had "united behind" the club.
A crowdfunding campaign launched by its owners in September in an effort to save the venue raised more than £300,000, while a petition to reopen the club topped 160,000 signatures.
Superintendent Nick Davies, from Islington police, said the club felt the force had "acted reasonably in the circumstances".
He welcomed Fabric's offer to place additional conditions on its licence and a zero tolerance approach to drugs, and said police would continue to "robustly enforce the licensing objectives".
"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," he said.
"I know Fabric is a venue that holds a great deal of affection in people's hearts. We had no choice but to take action to safeguard clubbers - and now Fabric has agreed to considerable changes, I hope the venue can continue to operate for many years to come within the boundaries of the new licensing conditions."