A Hackney nightclub that has earned an international reputation among clubbers is facing the threat of closure because of police concerns about noise, drug abuse and misuse of its drinks licence.
Clubbers across the capital are bracing themselves to fight for the renowned Shoreditch venue Plastic People against a move from the Metropolitan Police to have its licence reviewed, which could put its future in doubt.
The club, which is located on Curtain Road, was established 16 years ago and has since been described by reviewers and punters alike as boasting the best sound system in the country.
But the Metropolitan Police have made an application to Hackney Council to have the club’s licence reviewed on the grounds that the owners have not done enough to prevent crime and noise disturbance to neighbours.
Councillor Alan Laing, Hackney Council cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “Police concerns about Plastic People include issues around poor management, including the lack of a proper search policy, reports of open drug use inside, and alcohol served out of the hours authorised by its licence.”
After a four-week consultation period ends, the case is likely to be referred to a licensing sub-committee where evidence will be heard and the future of the licence will be determined.
The club management is hopeful that a compromise can be reached.
“This does not mean that all hope is lost and that Plastic People has come to its end,” said manager Bernard Koudjo in a statement.
“However, it does mean that we must do all we can to co-operate with the police and Hackney Council in order to ensure that we can keep the best dance music venue in London open for all to enjoy,” he added.
Local residents and businesses are invited to make their views known to the council, but Mr Koudjo urged club-goers who do not live in the vicinity to hold back on making complaints to the police and council, until a newly created committee called Friends of Plastic People can organise themselves to represent the venue.
In the meantime, a Facebook campaign called Keep Plastic People Alive has been established, and has attracted more than 10,000 members.
Members who had joined shared memories of the club online. “No other club is better,” said one commenter, while another said: “We aren’t the only ones that love this place – the industry folk do too.”
Plastic People is famous on the underground music scene for its eclectic mix of music events, including renowned dubstep night Forward.
Locally-based music promoter Takahiro Nakayama, a regular at the club, said: “I think it’s fair to say there’s a problem with noise. But the people who go to Plastic People don’t really take drugs – they are serious music people, and often don’t even drink. I think we should keep Plastic People alive because it’s a really great place for music lovers.”
International music acts such as Four Tet have also expressed their support for the venue with a mix entitled ‘Much Love to the Plastic People’, available online.
This threat of closure to the club comes just weeks after it was announced that the shutting down of popular Shoreditch venue The Foundry would go ahead despite public outcry over plans to have it demolished.