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'Serious structural damage' closes O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire

The venue cancelled The Courteeners on Friday night, with fears it will not reopen this year

The O2 Empire in Shepherd's Bush is one of the top nightlife spots in west London

The O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire has closed for the rest of the year because of “serious structural damage”, a band due to perform there has said.

The iconic music venue was forced to cancel The Courteeners gig on Friday (December 4) citing “structural issues”. The news came on the same weekend crews had to deal with a collapsed roof at a shop in Shepherd's Bush .

Old-time rockers Hawkwind, who were booked in to play at the Empire on December 20, has announced on its Facebook page that it found a change of venue after being told all there will be no more shows this year.

Hawkwind's announcement on Facebook

The post read: “As some of you may have heard, it seems Shepherd’s Bush Empire has been declared structurally unsafe and we have been told that they have had to cancel the rest of their shows this year.

“Thoughts are also with the great folk at SBE [Shepherd’s Bush Empire] who have to cope with this situation through no fault of their own....We are just so thankful that their H&S checks uncovered the danger and prevented a potential disaster....

The Courteeners confirmed on Twitter and Facebook the cancellation of their gig, which was greeted with disappointment and anger by their fans, who claimed they were given no notice.

Gillian Brolly wrote on Facebook: “Tonight’s is an absolute joke and unfair on all the fans especially those who travelled including me and my daughters who came from Ireland especially to see Uns, booked a hotel and flights trains and taxis, shepards (sic) bush empire are a disgrace and should’ve informed those who had tickets earlier that it was cancelled not at the last min!!!”

Also read: London Fire Brigade called to roof collapse in Shepherd's Bush

Nina Durrant wrote: “Just got here to see The Courteeners, cancelled! Very disappointed we weren’t made aware earlier, could have arranged to do something else! Sort it out! @shepherdsbushempire.”

In a message to fans the band’s Liam Fray wrote: “We’ve been told it’s serious structural damage.

“They checked a problem and it was ALOT worse than first thought. Why they told us and you so late I have no idea.

“I know you’re all disappointed but if anything happened to one of those balconies with all you guys inside it does not bear even thinking about.

“It would haunt everyone for the rest of their lives. Thankfully you’re all safe, ALL tickets will remain valid, and WE WILL schedule a new show for you, and it will be f***ing immense.”

He had earlier tweeted: “Absolutely fuming. Don’t know whats happened or whats gone on. We literally sound checked, then it was called off... absolutely gutted.”

Shepherd’s Bush Empire is urging The Courteeners fans to keep hold of their tickets.

The Grade II listed venue on Shepherd’s Bush Green holds 2,000 people. Its website lists acts such as Kodaline and Kim Wilde as performing this month.

Getwestlondon has contacted Academy Music Group, which runs the venue, for comment.

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