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London's Oval Space Facing License Review After Alleged Shooting
Christian Eede , September 26th, 2022 17:09

Tower Hamlets Council's Licensing Sub Committee will meet to discuss the matter on September 27

London venue Oval Space is facing a review of its license after an alleged shooting happened on the premises last month.

A Tower Hamlets Council document, which can be read in full online here, includes accounts from police officers, which allege that on August 30, "a serious incident" took place when a firearm was discharged inside the venue.

Putting forward the case for the license review, the document reads: "In the opinion of a senior police officer of the Metropolitan Police the above premises are associated with serious crime and disorder or both and concerns in relation to public safety and prevention of public nuisance." It also alleges that a "lack of management of the premises and lack of adequate searching" lead to the serious incident taking place.

Outlining what allegedly happened, Tower Hamlets Council's document says police were called to the nearby Temple Street at around 4.20am after a member of the public discovered a man with injuries to both his legs on the street. Having viewed CCTV from the area, officers from the Metropolitan Police have claimed that the man was seen running from Oval Space, and being chased by another man.

The man was allegedly shot in both legs in the street after running from the venue, and subsequently placed under armed guard in hospital. In an interview with the police, the victim said bullets were fired inside the club, causing him to exit the venue through a fire exit where he was followed by the suspect.

Tower Hamlets Council's report says that two members of Oval Space security who were working on the night of the incident claimed that they "did not see any altercation occur outside the club." Another security guard did however tell police that there was a "bang on the dancefloor" at around 4.15am, which prompted security to turn the lights of the venue on and search the dancefloor.

Security have told police that they assumed it was simply "the sound of a balloon bursting," with no firearm having been discovered when the lights were turned on. Many club-goers did, however, subsequently leave the club, according to the report.

Upon review of CCTV footage from inside and outside Oval Space, officers from the Metropolitan Police have claimed they believe a firearm was indeed discharged inside the club. CCTV from outside the venue also allegedly showed a man, who security said regularly attended with the promoters of that night's event, bypassing the queue to enter the club. In the footage, the man can allegedly be seen being passed a bag by the suspected shooter, which police believe contained the firearm, and bypassing the security check. He then reportedly handed the bag back to the suspect.

Placing particular criticism on Oval Space, an officer involved in the investigation of the incident alleged that "five days of the investigation [had] been wasted as the General Manager [of Oval Space] was not contactable and has given the account that her phone was lost/stolen." The same officer also claimed that as of September 7, a week after the incident allegedly took place, "no representative of the venue [had] contacted any officer within the Licensing department."

In response to the license review, Oval Space called on attendees of the venue to submit letters of support to Tower Hamlets Council. More than 2,000 letters were sent to the Licensing Sub Committee within five days of the appeal being shared online late last week.

In an Instagram post, the venue said: "Oval Space is an important cultural venue In London. Since opening in 2013, it has quickly developed a reputation as a key part of London's cultural tapestry. We need everyone to send representation in support of Oval Space through our pre-formatted letter which highlights the importance of these spaces in major cities across the country.

"If you love our venue, have celebrated there, danced there, spoken there, and been inspired by our breadth of culturally diverse events, then please support us."

Tower Hamlets Council's Licensing Sub Committee is due to meet tomorrow (27th September) to discuss the venue's license. A decision on the matter is expected to be made within five days of the hearing, and Oval Space will have the option of appealing the decision within 21 days if its licence is revoked.