Plans to reopen a former Bethnal Green night club, Oval Space as a ‘corporate events space’ have been blocked by councillors because of concerns about the venue’s troubled past.
Oval Space closed its doors in September last year after its license was revoked by Tower Hamlets council licensing committee after an incident inside the club where a man was shot in both legs. Police claimed the club was controlled by gangs.
But Broadwick has now told Eastlondonlines that despite the rejection by councillors it still wanted to work with the council to obtain a license. A spokesperson said: “Broadwick (via our Venues division) has been approached to manage the operation of Oval as a corporate and brand hire space, and we are working with the Council to procure a new license for it to operate on this basis only. Broadwick Venues is an experienced operator of hybrid venues across the UK, and operates independently of Broadwick’s music and entertainment brands.”
In a letter to residents, Broadwick Venues which also owns a well known club ‘Printworks‘ in Canada Water, has promised that ‘Oval Space’ would not be a music venue after the takeover. “Given the serious historic issues … we will not be holding any ‘club’ shows at the venue.
We have proposed that the council make it a condition of the proposed license that we will not hold music events where tickets are available for sale to the general public. Instead, any events with music will be corporate and brand events where music will be ancillary to the main purpose of the event i.e., music as part of a product/brand launch.”
One local resident, Aleksandra Satikova, wrote a letter to the council’s licensing sub-committee: “The venue has been linked to drug selling and consumption in recent years, and related safety issues. Drug gangs have been operating within and controlling the venue as proved by police when removing the previous license after a shooting took place inside, and an incident using a samurai sword.
She continued: “This had a massive knock-on effect on the residential area with drug dealers operating every day at the door step of the Empress Works development.” She claimed the area around the venue is a “perfect location for drug gangs as there is very limited lighting, non CCTVs” and believed the new venue might attract even more drugs dealing.
However, one regular customer of ‘Printworks’, which is set to close shortly told ELL, that he would be happy for ‘Oval Space to re-open even though he was aware of issues around gang violence. Alex Bacon, 32, from Bethnal Green, told ELL: ” I am not sure if I would attend events like that. Printworks seems to be well run. I imagine they would be able to resolve the past issues of violence.. so would welcome them taking over the venue. “
At the time of closure of Oval Space, licensing officer PC Mark Perry told MyLondon: “This is a venue that has been used by gangs and to an extent is controlled by gangs. This is why fights are taking place, why people are bringing in a firearm and swords and the management have kept silent and not informed police.”