Brixton Academy can reopen once licensing conditions are met

O2 Academy, Brixton

Featured Image: Patrick Frossard on Unsplash

O2 Academy Brixton, where two people died at a gig last year, will be allowed to reopen if it can meet more than 70 “extensive and robust” new licensing conditions.

Lambeth Council announced its decision on Saturday following a two-day hearing at the start of last week. O2 Academy Brixton has been closed since two people died in a crush at the London venue ahead of an Asake gig in December 2022.

The 77 conditions to be met include those proposed by operator Academy Music Group (AMG) such as stronger doors, new crowd management systems, more detailed risk assessments, a new ticketing system, a centralised control and command centre and new security and management. At last week’s hearing, the council’s licensing officers asked that AMG’s initial proposals were greatly strengthened.

Cllr Dr Mahamed Hashi, Lambeth’s cabinet member for safer communities, said: “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.”

‘Immensely Grateful’

In a statement, AMG said it was “immensely grateful” to Lambeth Council for its decision and that the venue would reopen with a series of test events.

The Met Police, which admitted during the hearing that it did not believe AMG should continue to run the venue, said it would work with AMG and the council to ensure “safety is paramount”. Supt Gabriel Cameron said it had always been the Met’s aim that the academy was “run by a licensee who will take all necessary steps to ensure [safety]”.

The Met Police is leading the investigation into whether any criminal offences were committed regarding the fatal incident at the venue last year.

Cllr Hashi added: “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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