50,000 people sign online petition to save Brixton's O2 Academy

50,000 people sign online petition to save Brixton’s O2 Academy after the Met Police urges council chiefs to strip the venue of its licence following two deaths before Asake show

  • The venue has been facing closure since the deaths of two people in December
  • Decision on whether to reopen expected to be made at licensing meeting soon

More than 50,000 people have signed a petition to save the O2 Academy in Brixton from closure – as police urge council chiefs to strip the venue of its licence.

The venue has been facing closure since the deaths of two people when fans without tickets tried to enter a show by Nigerian artist Asake on December 15 last year.

The academy’s licence was subsequently suspended for three months by Lambeth councillors and a decision on whether to reopen the site is expected to be decided at a licensing meeting soon.

But an online petition to ‘Save Brixton Academy’ had been signed by more than 50,000 people on Monday.

The petition, created by Stuart O’Brien and directed to Lambeth Council, says the ‘iconic’ venue’s closure would result in ‘another part of the musical landscape and history’ being ‘lost forever’.

The venue has been facing closure since the deaths of two people when fans without tickets tried to enter a show by Nigerian artist Asake on December 15 last year

Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, who died following a crowd crush outside an Asake concert in December last year

Gaby Hutchinson who was named as the second person to have died after a crowd crush at the venue

It added: ‘What happened there was a tragedy, but caused by people. Revoke the security firm’s licence and bring in someone adequate recommended by the police… Bring in new security procedures including crowd control to ensure a repeat doesn’t happen. 

‘But let’s not turn this venue into soulless flats as would more than likely happen in the event of permanent closure.’

Security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, both died during the incident in December.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said: ‘On Monday January 16, the licence of the O2 Academy Brixton was suspended for three months. 

‘On April 14, the Met Police submitted an application for a review of (the) premises’ licence to Lambeth Council and will be seeking a revocation of the licence. 

‘This matter will be decided at a future council sub-committee hearing on a date to be confirmed.’ 

The academy’s licence was subsequently suspended for three months by Lambeth councillors and a decision on whether to reopen the site is expected to be decided at a licensing meeting soon

At the meeting, Lambeth councillors will decide whether to follow the police advice or to reopen the venue. 

A spokesperson for Academy Music Group (AMG), which owns the venue, added: ‘AMG has co-operated fully with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council since the tragedy at Brixton occurred. 

‘We have had regular meetings and discussions with the Metropolitan Police and Lambeth Council at which we have presented detailed proposals that we believe will enable the venue to reopen safely. 

‘AMG has been awaiting feedback on those proposals for several weeks and looks forward to hearing from the police as soon as possible in constructive terms. 

‘The review of our licence will take place through the formal process with Lambeth Council in due course.’

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