Beginning with a grant from Lambeth council at the height of Brixton’s troubles in an attempt to bring people together, it is ironic that 30 years later, Club 414 is now facing closure due to the very same council now considering a planning application for 3 flats and a shop.
With the stability of London’s nightlife currently being a major focus in the global clubbing world, many are shocked at Lambeth council’s consideration to support the planning application. The building’s owners are part of a dominant property conglomerate in Brixton, owning the freehold of both Brixton Village and Market Row, and want to convert the Club 414 building presumably as part of the gentrification process in and around Brixton. If this goes ahead, Brixton will not only lose its most legendary club, but many other businesses could also lose custom that a shop and 3 flats could never replace, such as local taxi firms, pubs and takeaways to name just a few.
Despite taking the issue to the High Court earlier this year and managing to have the controversial decision to grant planning permission overturned, owners Louise Barron and Tony Pommell face the same fight again, just months later.
Club 414 solicitor, Riz Majid of Neumans LLP comments “One of the key points of The London Plan 2015 is that ‘Boroughs should encourage a diverse range of night-time activities, expanding culture and leisure venues other than eating and drinking’. The Lambeth Local Plan 2015 states that ‘Brixton’s role as a distinctive major multicultural and diverse town centre will be safeguarded and promoted through careful and sensitive regeneration’ and one of the ways this will be achieved by is ‘…enhancing the town centre’s popularity for leisure, entertainment and nightlife…”
London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has famously supported the campaign to help London’s nightlife thrive once again, and although it was unfortunately not in his power to intervene licensing issues for Fabric, he now has another opportunity to support clubs in London. Recently describing London’s iconic clubs as “an essential part of our cultural landscape”, he highlighted that a staggering third of London's small music venues have closed since 2007, and something needs to be done to prevent further closures damaging the city’s cultural offering.
Club 414 has been transformed over the years by its owners into a world renowned venue, seeing visitors travel across the globe to experience one of their legendary nights. Setting the club apart from the rest, it is also the only venue in Brixton that stays open past 4am – something which has recently impressed one of the candidates for the soon to be appointed Night Czar, who has already shown support of the campaign.
Support has flooded in from all walks of life around the world, including that of Fabric, to hopefully prevent Club 414 from meeting the same fate. Owners Louise and Tony have now reopened their petition, which previously gained 2,500 signatures, and is significantly increasing day-by-day, but more support is necessary.
Louise Barron, co-owner of Club 414, commented on the situation; “We are truly overwhelmed by all of the support we have received to save our club, and hope that this highlights to the council and developers how much Club 414 really means to the community. We have overcome this obstacle once before and can do it again with the help of those who are as passionate about London’s nightlife as ourselves – we know there are many people out there who feel the same as we do, so now it’s time to come together for Brixton and clubs across London.”
With the deadline for objections to the planning permission closed on 30th September, there is limited time to prevent the clubs closure through other routes before the matter goes to the Lambeth Planning Committee in November 2016. With support on social media using #Save414, the petition, objections to planning permission and lobbying of influential figures, Club 414 are most certainly not going down without a fight.
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