Brixton Academy faces closure after two people died in a deadly crowd crush last year (Picture: Shutterstock)
The Metropolitan Police have denied wanting to shut down the 02 Academy in Brixton- but said they have no confidence in the current owners to keep people safe.
Police previously asked the local council to remove the venue’s licence after a crowd crush in December last year left two people dead.
Security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, were killed during the crush and another person was left in critical condition after fans without tickets tried to force their way into a show by Nigerian artist Asake.
But following a two-day hearing on the venue’s future this week, Lambeth Council have said they support the reopening of Brixton Academy ‘in principle’ if a series of conditions are met.
The Met says it has no confidence in the venue’s current owners (Picture: Shutterstock)
Speaking at the second day of a hearing of Lambeth Council’s licensing subcommittee on Tuesday, much of which was held in private, Gerald Gouriet KC, representing the Met, said the force is not trying to shut down the venue.
‘The police do not wish to close the Academy… they believe AMG Ltd shouldn’t be the licensee,’ he said.
‘I’m not permitted to go further into the reasons.’
About 1,000 people were outside the venue and police found ‘large-scale disorder’ at the scene, with crowds eventually pushing the doors open, Mr Gouriet told a previous hearing.
A police investigation was launched and the Security Industry Authority opened an inquiry into corruption allegations made after the crush.
Closing the case for AMG, Philip Kolvin KC said the company has always had a ‘very close relationship with the police’.
On Monday, representatives for AMG told the committee it had developed new safety measures in an effort to have its licence restored, including stronger doors, a better queuing system and more secure ticketing.
AMG said changes to its operating policies had been developed by ‘leading professionals’ to prevent a repeat of last year’s events.
The company, which has operated the venue for 20 years, has done ‘all in its power to analyse what went wrong’, Mr Kolvin added.
Earlier in Tuesday’s hearing, representatives of Lambeth Council’s licensing authority said they believe the venue would be able to reopen subject to conditions.
The licensing committee will begin its deliberations on whether to grant a new licence for the venue on Wednesday.
Brixton Academy is owned by Academy Music Group (AMG), which runs 18 live music venues across the UK, including three others in London.
AMG previously agreed to a three-month suspension of its licence after the deadly crush.
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Two people were killed during a crows crush at the iconic venue last December.