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Olivia Stock
15 September 2023, 18:12

Brixton Academy can reopen once it meets "extensive and robust" safety conditions, council decides

Stronger doors, new queuing systems, and more secure ticketing are amongst the 77 proposed conditions necessary for the venue to reopen

Photo of the iconic dome of the O2 Academy Brixton against a dark blue sky

London’s Brixton Academy will be officially allowed to reopen as long as it meets “extensive and robust” safety conditions, Lambeth Council has decided. 

The south London music venue will need to meet 77 conditions “designed to promote public safety”, in order to continue operating following December’s fatal crowd crush, according to a decision announced today (15th September).

As reported by The Guardian, the conditions include stronger doors, new crowd management systems, more detailed risk assessments, a new ticketing system, a centralised control and command centre, along with new security and management.

Mahamed Hashi, Lambeth council’s cabinet member for safer communities, said that these were “among the measures proposed by [owners] AMG (Academy Music Group) at the hearing to support their aim of regaining the venue’s licence so it can reopen, and making sure we never see a tragedy again like the one there in December 2022.”

He continued: “At the hearing the council’s licensing officers asked that AMG’s initial proposals were greatly strengthened. This was accepted by the operator. In total 77 conditions have been agreed by the subcommittee to allow reopening.”

“The investigation into whether any criminal offences have been committed is being led by the Met Police, and their work continues. Lambeth council will do everything we can to support this police investigation so that there are answers and justice for the families of Rebecca Ikumelo and Gabrielle Hutchinson, who tragically lost their lives at the academy in December.”

licensing hearing into the venue’s future was held at Lambeth Town Hall earlier this week, over eight months since its licence was first suspended by The Metropolitan Police, who indicated that they had “lost confidence” in venue operator, Academy Music Group (AMG). On Wednesday, the council advised that a decision on the future of Brixton Academy would be made “within five working days.”

Speaking at the hearing, Lambeth Council barrister Horatio Waller QC suggested that AMG – which runs 18 music venues across the UK – had performed a “complete overhaul” of their security procedures and attitude towards risk assessments since the December tragedy, according to a report by NME.

Marina Ahmad, London Assembly Labour economy spokesperson and member for Lambeth and Southwark, said: “Today will be a challenging day for the friends and families of Gaby Hutchinson and Rebecca Ikumelo, along with everyone else who has been impacted by the crush at the Brixton Academy last December.

“I hope they can feel confident that the 77 extra conditions on the licence will prevent future tragedies happening.

“I will be reaching out to Brixton Academy immediately to be assured that fans can have a safe and fun night out.”

“I am pleased that our community will retain this iconic venue. I would like to thank Lambeth Council and the police for their work ensuring that music lovers get to enjoy London’s thriving late-night scene confident in their safety.”

Since the nightspot’s closure in December, an online petition was launched to appeal against the closure while various artists and industry professionals spoke out against the potential shutting down of the venue. It attracted over 116,000 signatures.