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18 Sep

Landmark venue has been shut since December

Brixton Academy can re-open if it meets a lengthy list conditions, Lambeth Council has decided after a two day hearing into the venue’s future.

The famous music venue has been shut since a fatal crowd crush at an Asake gig in December last year left one audience member and one security worker dead.

The hearing was told that the UK was missing out on entire tours, with acts unable to finance nationwide jaunts without a large scale London date to ‘anchor’ them. Mazin Tappuni, who represents acts including Sam Fender and Lewis Capaldi, also said Hammersmith Apollo – the only similar sized venue in London – was now practically impossible to book due to over demand.

A statement issued by Cllr Dr Mahamed Hashi, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities announced that the Brixton O2 Academy can be reopened on the proviso that it meets 77 conditions to ensure the safety of gig goers and workers.

The statement reads:

“After a two-day hearing Lambeth Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee has permitted the O2 Brixton Academy to re-open, but only once it has met 77 extensive and robust new conditions designed to promote public safety, including the safety of both visitors and employees. Stronger doors, new crowd management systems, more detailed risk assessments, a new ticketing system, a new centralised control and command centre as well as new security and management at the venue, were among the measures proposed by AMG at the hearing to support their aim of regaining the venue’s licence so it can re-open, and making sure we never see a tragedy again like the one there in December 2022.

“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 sub-committee to allow re-opening. 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.

“AMG will now need to put in place the agreed measures to enable the re-opening of this much-loved local venue, which is a key part of Brixton’s cultural heritage and has been enjoyed by millions. We will be working to closely monitor all licensing conditions to ensure that safety is at the forefront of the venue’s future operations. In making its decision the sub-committee was clear that its role wasn’t to assign blame or punishment on individuals or other bodies for past failings. It is not to exonerate them either. Their decision had to focus on what, if any, appropriate measures are needed for the venue to safely re-opening in the future. They also emphasised that their decision was based solely on what was put before them at the hearing.”

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