The legendary London nightclub Fabric was permanently closed last night - seemingly triggered by two drug deaths occurring on the premises since June - leading to an outpouring of grief from saddened clubbers, and a general air of bemusement as to how the council could have arrived at such a decision.
However, a strongly-worded new report by the Independent suggests that, far from being a reaction to these tragic events, Fabric's closure was in fact a "long pre-planned event, orchestrated by a cash-strapped council, using the police as pawns."
It details how Islington Council's official statement about the closure lists eleven points to explain how they reached their decision to close the world-famous nightclub. Two of them related to the deaths of the clubbers on 25 June and 6 August, with eight others related to an undercover police operation which took place in July.
Using Freedom Of Information requests, the Independent reveals that Islington Council ignored a swathe of positive comments about the club from the police report - which was codenamed 'Operation Lenor' (ie. Fabric softener) - with the name giving an indication of how they expected it to pan out, regardless of the facts.
The Independent also points out that "Undercover police in nightclubs is nothing new, but targeting the venue itself, as opposed to dealers, is."
The report goes on to detail just how ineffective and counter-productive the results of a 2014 review into Fabric were, with the introduction of sniffer dogs being little short of a disaster - this policy was reversed in December 2015.
And the reason for the council being so keen to see Fabric close? According to the article, it was an opportunity, in a time of austerity and severe cuts, to free up that space for development, which would earn it money.
It concludes by saying, "Follow the documents, and follow the money trail. Fabric was always going to close, drugs deaths notwithstanding. It’s not the police. It’s not drug laws. It’s a government that continues to roll back public services and institutions in an ever more calculating attempt to attract foreign money."
Strong words - and we await the response of Islington Council and the Metropolitan Police.