Shapes, a nightspot in Hackney Wick, East London, has closed down. The owner made the decision to permanently shut the club 24 hours before councillors were due to review its license following an allegation of rape at a private sex party in the venue.
The incident is alleged to have taken place in March at a Kinky Salon event. A police report outlines the alleged victim and attacker had both taken MDMA, and the alleged rape attempt was only stopped after the victim claimed she needed the toilet.
Sergeant Guy Hicks, an officer involved in the police’s investigation into the incident, called for a review of the club’s license after expressing misgivings about its conduct, stating in his report that the venue failed to assist police in providing CCTV evidence.
He wrote: “I have never had a venue premise licence holder make such cynical attempts to avoid giving investigating officers CCTV.”
Sergeant Hicks added that he held “serious concerns” over the owner's capability in running the venue, highlighting that he did not believe the CCTV was recording, and called for a review of Shapes’ license.
Lawyers representing Shapes sent a statement to the Hackney Gazette about the matter, saying the club does not accept any crime took place, and that the CCTV had been released once an “appropriate request” from officers was made.
A spokeswoman also revealed that the owner’s lease was up from July 31, and the company “took a commercial view that, whilst wishing to defend its reputation at the hearing, the cost of doing so would be prohibitive.”
Shapes sent us the following statement: "It’s with heavy hearts we announce that Shapes’ Hackney Wick venue is to close its doors for the final time this weekend after Saturday 30th July party. The planning department in Hackney has made it clear that music venues are no longer suitable for the area, and as such we are being forced to close our doors.
"We wholly refute allegations being made against us and have been fully cooperative throughout our ongoing dealing with the licensing officers, having complied with all rules and requests, and provided all required recordings to assist the investigating officer to the very best of our ability. The alleged incident and our closing are two distinctly separate matters and to group them together is little more than a cynical attempt to distract from the reality of Hackney's ongoing social agenda against live music venues.
"There are darker forces at play here - and they must not detract from the love for the arts we all share. We have worked so hard to create great moments in a great space over the last three and half years – providing a socially enterprising platform for forward-thinking music and artistry in the local community. In spite of our continued efforts we now have no further choice but to bid farewell to 117 Wallis Road. Thank you to everyone who has been part of the journey so far. Come shake a leg with us here one last time this weekend. And stay tuned for further news. The best is yet to come."
Patrick Hinton is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow him on Twitter