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Network Rail forces closure of prestigious underground club, Cable

One of London's biggest nightclubs, Cable in London Bridge, has been forced to close with the loss of 70 jobs as landlords Network Rail took possession for the redevelopment of London Bridge station.

The 1,300 capacity venue in SE1 has exploded in popularity and reputation, to become one of London's top three club brands alongside Ministry of Sound and Fabric. Cable, and sister venue Relay which has also been closed, boasted over 300,000 fans in 100 countries to their online radio & TV channels and has played host to thousands of today’s most prolific Electronic Dance Music DJs, artists and producers.

Since opening in 2009 Cable has drawn over 700,000 clubbers to the venue, building a reputation for its cutting edge line-ups, incredible sound system and warehouse vibe. Following Network Rail’s closure, the release of Cable’s first compilation albums, and the launch of their DJ agency and global events divisions have had to be shelved.

Six years ago, Cable founder Euan Johnston - who also founded the legendary SeOne venue in Weston Street - was approached by Network Rail with a proposal to develop a series of derelict, leaking and uninhabitable arches located on the most fashionable street in London - Bermondsey Street - situated 500 metres from London Mayor, Boris Johnson's office, and a stones throw from The Shard.

Having been given assurances by Network Rail that the space would not be affected by the regeneration of London Bridge station, Cable invested millions in the development of the venue and launch of the brand only to be told some years later that plans had changed.

After one division of Network Rail actively encouraged the development of the space, another division approved plans to build emergency stairs directly through the middle of the venue. Network Rail had other options for the staircases available to them, but chose the only option that would destroy the club.

Euan Johnston, Director at Cable, said: "We are totally shocked and devastated that this could have happened. We were assured when we moved in that we would not be affected by the redevelopment and Network Rail have simply changed their minds – the worst thing is there is nothing we can do to prevent it. We have invested a huge amount of time and energy developing the space and growing Cable as a brand, not to mention employing 70 staff who now face redundancy.”

Cable has tried every means possible to reach a compromise with Network Rail in the hope they would change plans and avoid closure of the club, culminating in issuing a Judicial Review against the entry notice which is yet to be determined. However the possession could not be prevented and Network Rail arrived in force on 1st May with bailiffs equipped with battering rams and angle grinders in preparation to force entry. The directors and shareholders are committed to continue the fight for justice as a result of the destruction of Cable carried out by Network Rail.

“The way Network Rail have treated us is a disgrace, we have been brushed aside by people from Network Rail at every level right up to Chief Executive Sir David Higgins” added Mr Johnston. “They simply don’t care and are not interested in having any meaningful discussion at all, they are apparently the country’s biggest small business landlord, but let this be a warning to other tenants of Network Rail that whatever agreement you have with them may mean nothing if they want to bulldoze you”

Cable was officially notified on 1st April 2011 by Network Rail that the cable site is to be included in the redevelopment of London Bridge despite the previous assurances given by Network Rail that the club would not be affected.

Cable’s closure is a further blow to London’s clubbing culture after other key clubs such as Turnmills, SeOne, The End and The Cross were all closed due to developers. London is short of top-quality underground clubs, which are an essential boost to culture and tourism at a time when Electronic Music is exploding worldwide. Visitor numbers to cities such as Berlin have surged due to their uber-cool club scene and the city of Zurich actively promotes its underground clubbing scene alongside established culture in a global TV campaign, yet the UK authorities seem content to let this important part of British culture be resigned to the history books.

Exclusive Video: Smashing up the dancefloor - Network Rail take possession of Cable

This footage documents the dramatic events that took place on that fateful day.

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