London Mayor Sadiq Khan has opened up about fabric’s licensing troubles, which has seen the club close down for a month following the drug-related deaths of two 18-year olds at the club in a nine-week period. A hearing to decide the venue’s fate is due to take place on Tuesday 6th September.
In a new interview with Time Out London, which you can watch in full below, Khan said that the fate of fabric is out of his hands, as it’s a “local authority issue”, continuing, “People have been given the impression that it’s me pulling the levers with fabric. And it isn’t.”
Khan already addressed the situation in a response to the #SaveFabric Change.org petition last week (30th August), in which he urged all parties involved to “find a common sense solution that ensures the club remains open while protecting the safety of those who want to enjoy London’s clubbing scene.”
In the new interview the London Mayor also spoke about his wider plans to protect the city’s nightlife. He said, “One of my jobs as the Mayor is to create an environment where the clubs and live music venues we’ve got flourish and thrive. But also an environment where new music venues, live music venues, new clubs, can open.”
Although his hands are tied on the fabric situation, Khan continued to explain that changes are being made. “If you ask somebody who owns a premises that is a club or live music venue, the reality is that you can sell that piece of land to a developer who will build luxury flats,” he said.
“And you’ll have much more money doing that than you will having a live music venue. So what we’re going to do is use the planning laws. For example, what we’re going to do is make it harder to change the use. To protect the heritage.”
Khan also mooted the use of the “Agents of Change” rule used in many areas of Australia, which means the installation of sound insulation falls on residential developers, rather than venues, for any housing built in the area of a nightclub or music space.
Emily Thornberry, MP for Islington South and Finsbury and Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, spoke publically in support of fabric nightclub ahead of its licensing review, saying, “fabric has huge cultural significance to an entire generation — a generation too often ignored and overlooked by politicians and policy makers.”
fabric also made a statement last week (30th August) which said the venue wants to “lead the industry” and create a new gold standard in approaches to drugs and security, whilst calling on the police and licensing authorities to support their efforts.
You can follow our #SaveOurClubs campaign on Facebook and watch the full interview with Khan below.
Rob McCallum is DJ Mag’s deputy digital editor. Follow him on Twitter here.