Warehouse venue Shapes in Hackney Wick closed two weeks ago, with reports stating its license was under review due to an alleged rape incident at the venue. However, Shapes has said police and the mayor's planning arm used "dirty tactics" to cover up the real reasons why the license wasn't renewed.
Shapes claims it submitted numerous planning applications to the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) to secure it as a long-term music venue, but says they were ignored. After deciding to take the case to the Independent Planning Inspectorate, Shapes' landlord was allegedly subject to "persistent written and verbal threats" from the LLDC which did not want "to risk Shapes winning their right to stay in the area."
As a result, Shapes had to leave the property by August 4, over a week after Seb Glover, Shapes' owner, decided to give up the license for the premises.
The alleged rape incident at sex party Kinky Salon was then used "to divert public attention from these real reasons for closure", according to a Shapes statement.
It continues: "The police claimed that Shapes were unforthcoming with CCTV were wholly incorrect – the club following requests and protocol in passing the recordings to the case Investigating Officer when asked. This was in compliance with Data Protection laws.
"The police asked for CCTV over three weeks after the event. When Shapes’ legal representatives inquired seven weeks later, they were told by the Detective that the CCTV had not been looked at yet and ‘probably wouldn’t be’."
Glover is now calling on Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, to support nightlife in London: “In light of the closure of Shapes, a number of community programs have now ceased, a great number of jobs have been erased, and another bright thread in the fabric of London’s nightlife has been severed.
Shapes calls on Mayor Sadiq Khan to fulfil his pledge to protect London’s music venuesmusic venues and investigate the unethical actions of both his planning department and his police force in this matter. The social agenda of big business is slowly being uncovered, its tentacles tightly entangled amongst the grain of our public bodies, and we call for the support of our Mayor to protect small businesses and the rights of the many over the few.
"The capital is famed for its cultural heritage, and Shapes has been a true part of that. We appreciate Sadiq Khan is working to change the current climate for clubs, with measures mooted including appointing a night czar. We support these calls, but until something really changes for this creative community, for the love of everyone else striving to make something culturally great out of nothing, we ask you Sadiq Khan to Save London’s Nightlife.”
Amid all the negatives, though, the long-awaited opening of the Night Tube has the potential to create exciting opportunities for London's nightlife.
Dave Turner is Mixmag's Digital News Editor, follow him on Twitter