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Fabric in “advanced talks” to re-open

By | Published on Monday 21 November 2016


Fabric’s legal team are reportedly in talks with Islington Council to re-open the club. Reaching a voluntary agreement over new licensing conditions for the venue would mean not having to go to court later this month, potentially avoiding thousands in legal fees for both sides.

According to the Islington Tribune, “advanced talks” are underway to re-open the club, which has been closed since August. The venue was initially shut down pending a review of its licence in the wake of two drug-related deaths. Then in September, the council decided to revoke its licence entirely, prompting the venue – which was commended for its anti-drug policies by a judge less than a year ago – to launch an appeal against the decision.

As previously reported, Fabric recently submitted a new 155 page operating manual as evidence in the case. It also suggested 32 possible new licensing conditions.

Both sides refused to comment on the Tribune’s report, though Fabric co-founder Cameron Leslie said that the club “wouldn’t have appealed” if it didn’t think that there was a good chance of it being able to re-open.

The inquest into one of the deaths that led to the club’s closure also took place last week. Ryan Browne died after a night out at the club in June. The hearing was told that he had become frustrated that he wasn’t feeling the expected effects of ecstasy that he had taken and so bought and took another pill. A post-mortem found that he had around seven times the upper recreational limit of MDMA in his bloodstream.

Browne and his friends were dubbed “naïve drug users”, with Coroner Mary Hassall saying: “The drugs in his system were enough to kill somebody who was very habituated and he was very far from habituated”.

Treated by medical staff in the venue after been discovered incoherent and with a temperature of nearly 42°C, Browne went into cardiac arrest at around 2am, dying in hospital the following morning.

In a statement following the inquest, Fabric said: “All of us at Fabric’s thoughts are with Ryan Browne’s family at this incredibly difficult time. The safety of our customers has always been of paramount importance to us, side by side a zero tolerance policy to drugs. We have always strongly opposed the use of illegal substances, and we reiterate that there is no safe way to take drugs”.

“We would like to commend our medical staff, who have been praised by the coroner today, they took the best actions they could under the circumstances”, it continued. “We have also been reviewing our operational procedures since the summer so if we are able to re-open we will look to set a new gold standard of best practice and customer safety for the industry”.

Fabric has, of course, raised over £300,000 in donations to help cover its legal costs as it fights to regain its licence. If a deal is reached with Islington Council before any appeal hearing takes place, it is not clear what will happen to that money. However, in addition to appealing its licence revocation, Fabric has also been working with lawyers to lobby the government to change official guidance on how the Licensing Act should be applied to clubbing venues.