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Venue operators submit planning permission for tannoy system and new fire doors, as Lambeth Council says date to decide if the venue’s licence will be revoked is yet to be finalised.

exterior of Brixton Academy

VV Shots via iStock

The operators of Brixton Academy, Academy Music Group (AMG), have submitted a planning application to Lambeth Council to fit a tannoy system around the venue.

The application comes as AMG’s licence to operate the historic venue continues to hang in the balance, following a fatal crush there in December 2022, which has seen it closed since.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Lambeth Council, which is set to make a decision on whether or not the venue will be allowed to reopen, confirmed to Arts Professional that it will not be made at the council's next Licensing Sub-Committee meeting, scheduled for next week (6 July).


The spokesperson added that a date for a hearing to determine whether AMG can continue as licence holder for the premises is yet to be finalised: “A date hasn’t been fixed as yet. But we will be announcing it publicly when a date has,” they said.

AMG put in an application in March to reopen the venue. In April the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) recommended Lambeth Council’s licensing sub-committee “consider revoking AMG’s licence”, adding they had lost faith in the venue’s ability to keep audiences safe.

Speaker system proposal

The speaker system proposed by AMG will feature 20 ‘horn speakers’ fixed around the exterior of the venue, including either side of the main entrance doors.

The speakers would be linked to an amplifier inside the building and two microphones located in the venue’s security control room and box office.

The planning application submitted by AMG states the speaker system would cost up to £2m and will “only be used to broadcast security and safety announcements and will not have the facility to broadcast the music from within the venue”.

It continues: “The impact of the speakers is to allow the venue staff to communicate safety announcements clearly to the patrons on the outside of the venue only.

“This would add a previously missing facility to use with regards to crowd control and safety and can only be considered a worthwhile installation.”

A Design and Access Statement said the effects of the tannoy system on the passing public would be minimal as, on a concert night, “the immediate area around the venue would be quite loud and excitable already”.

The statement adds the system would be a “reassuring measure” for the patrons, “promoting a feeling of safety should they come into use”.

Replacement fire doors

AMG has also put in a separate planning application to replace eight basement fire doors below the stage at the venue.

Planning documents state these would replace doors providing access to the orchestra pit and surrounding corridors that are beginning to show signs of wear.

The planning documents do not refer to the entrance doors to the venue, which were subject to scrutiny by the Metropolitan Police in a written representation to Lambeth Council, who questioned their structural integrity.

While the venue remains closed to the public, a petition launched in April to save Brixton Academy and calling for it to reopen as a venue, has reached more than 110,000 signatures.