DJs, promoters, and clubbers have expressed shock after the London nightclub Fabric was closed permanently following two drug-related deaths there earlier this year.
In a decision announced in the early hours of the morning after a review lasting several hours, Islington council said the club's licence was being revoked as searches conducted by security staff had been "inadequate and in breach of the licence".
Two 18-year-old men died at the club this summer – in June and August – after taking class A drugs at Fabric, leading to the Metropolitan police asking the council to shut the club down.
"On both occasions the deceased and their friends that accompanied them to the club were able to conceal drugs on their person and get through the search and entry system without the drugs being detected," the council said in a statement.
"Staff intervention and security was grossly inadequate in light of the overwhelming evidence that it was abundantly obvious that patrons in the club were on drugs and manifesting symptoms showing that they were. This included sweating, glazed red eyes and staring into space and people asking for help."
The decision was made despite a petition to save the club attracting almost 150,000 signatures and high-profile support from artists and DJs including Professor Green and Groove Armada.
The Night Time Industry Association said it would attempt to challenge the decision.
London mayor Sadiq Khan had said he wanted Fabric, the police, and the council to find a solution that protected clubbers and the future of the club.
In a statement Khan said he was "disappointed" this solution could not be reached.
“As a result of this decision, thousands of people who enjoyed going to Fabric as an essential part of London's nightlife will lose out. 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," the mayor said.
"Over the past eight years, London has lost 50% of its nightclubs and 40% 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."
"Fabric is extremely disappointed with Islington council's decision to revoke our licence," the club said in a statement.
"This is an especially sad day for those who have supported us, particularly the 250 staff who will now lose their jobs.
"Closing Fabric is not the answer to the drug-related problems clubs like ours are working to prevent, and sets a troubling precedent for the future of London's night-time economy."
The Metropolitan police said: "Police felt the need to act due to concerns about the safety of those attending the club due to the supply of class A drugs in the venue and the recent deaths of two young men linked to the club.
"We support this decision made by Islington Council's licensing committee.
"London has a world-renowned night-time economy and people should be able to enjoy it safely, without concerns of serious crime. The Met is committed to working in partnership with those responsible for this sector to ensure that this happens."
Matthew Champion is a deputy world news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.
Contact Matthew Champion at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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