As Fabric closes its doors for the last time, is arbitrary state intervention killing London’s night life?

400 - Bad Request | City A.M.

400 - Bad Request

Expecting to see a different page?

This might be because you have entered the web address incorrectly or wrong parameters.

Please contact us or visit our homepage.

Fabric nightclub supporters are campaigning to save it
Fabric had its licence revoked by Islington council (Source: Getty)

Alex Proud, founder of Proud Galleries and Proud Camden, says Yes.

Possibly the world’s greatest club has been closed. A club held by most in the industry (and until recently by the Met and Islington Council) as an example of good practice, run to the highest standards of professionalism, crime prevention and drug prevention. Six tragic deaths is awful. But given that Fabric has had more than 6m customers since 1999, it’s not such a shocking figure. Are we closing the Dorchester tomorrow? Indeed I know the first aiders and dedicated staff there have saved hundreds of lives.

What worries me is the green light this gives councils and police to close almost any club in the UK when it suits them. From Madame JoJo’s to Proud2, the police have picked targets off and moved on. I think if clubs follow the rules, they should know this cannot happen. Mature, constructive debate with all agencies to solve drugs deaths rather than closing clubs is far more sensible. The Night Time Industry Association will now raise £500,000 to appeal and reopen Fabric and then change this dreadful and broken process. #savefabric

​Rachel Cunliffe, a London-based political writer, says No.

It is not puritanical or arbitrary to attempt to prevent teenagers from dying of drug use. Fabric had multiple chances to improve its drugs policy, with six club-related deaths in four years. It failed. Islington Borough Council concluded that staff intervention and security were “grossly inadequate”, and that the club was in breach of its licence.

If people had died in other venues – of food poisoning in a restaurant, or because of faulty equipment in a gym – no-one would be making such a fuss about closure.

London mayor Sadiq Khan may lament that the capital has lost 50 per cent of its nightclubs, but that’s down to the high price of living in London, not state intervention. Fabric is an exception. Its closure is sad, and was probably avoidable. It was an icon, it had history, it will be missed. But blame the laissez faire management that turned a blind eye to the drug culture, not the government for enforcing the rules.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

Related articles