Businesses close to The O2 Academy Brixton have reacted with dismay to the suspension of its licence for three months after two people were killed in a crowd crush.

The stairs to the venue remain covered in floral tributes to security guard Gaby Hutchinson, 23, and Rebecca Ikumelo, 33, who died after ticketless fans tried to enter an Asake gig on December 15.

Aman Wold, owner of cafe bar Brixtonia, said the three-month ban was “unnecessary” and would reduce his takings significantly.

He told the PA News Agency: “At the weekend, on Friday and Saturday night, a lot of us have definitely noticed the impact already.

“I would say without exaggeration that on Friday and Saturday we lose at least 25 per cent or 30 per cent.

“On the road you can see it is a lot quieter, especially on weekends. I think it is unnecessary.”

Nearby Japanese restaurant Sushi Revolution has also seen its custom fall and owner Tom Blackshaw said the venue’s closure was harming the local area.

He said: “It is not good timing to lose one of the big draws of people to this area with the cost of living and inflation at the same time.

“The quality of the acts you get there are first class and it will be missed until it comes back, but we’re obviously hoping it could come back and operate safely.”

He added: “When there is a concert on we get a nice number of 20 people in, all in groups of two. We like them because they come to eat quickly and then go straight away. It was good for us.”

Renato Carato is a front of house staff member at Greek eatery Mikos, which he said was missing out on £1,000 it made every night from revellers heading to and from the Academy.

“When it was open, a lot of people would come after the concerts but now it has closed, not many customers come at night,” he told PA.

“I am worried about the next three months because it will affect the business. So many people used to come before and after the shows when they were going in and coming out.

“We just have to keep going, especially because we are a new place. We have only been open five months.”

At Brixton Kebab, a takeaway just 20 metres down the road from the O2, staff said the whole of Brixton was struggling because of the venue’s closure.

A waiter, who asked not to be named, said: “When the shows are on, it is really busy and all of Brixton gets loads of business. But because of the closure it has been quiet.

“About 6,000 people come to the gigs and we are always very, very busy and we could make up to £2,000 a day. It is packed, all the restaurants are packed, all the places are packed and the streets are packed. There is a very big queue here.

“It should re-open. It is good for all the people and it brings business to this place.”

Gerald Gouriet KC, representing Metropolitan Police, said the full extent of the injuries caused by the crush is still unknown.

“It started at 8pm, so I understand by 9pm a large crowd of about 1,000 people had formed outside the entrance to the premises, to all intents giving the appearance of entering the building,” he said.

“Staff at the venue closed the entrance doors and called the police for support. And we have a timing for that call, it’s 9.04pm. The police arrived at 9.16pm.

“When they arrived, they found large-scale disorder, the crowd pushing against the doors, trying to force them open, which they eventually did.

“And when the doors were breached, the crowd poured into the lobby towards the auditorium.

“A number of them fell to the floor. Several – we don’t yet know the total number and that will be found out as the inquiry proceeds – were injured as the crowd surged on and over those who had fallen.”

Four people were taken to hospital, Mr Gouriet said.

Wandsworth Times: Flowers on the steps outside the O2 Academy in Brixton, south LondonFlowers on the steps outside the O2 Academy in Brixton, south London (Image: PA)

He added: “Tragically, as we know, two of them died as a result of their injuries, “A third remains critically ill and the fourth has been, thankfully, discharged.”

Reacting to the decision to close the Academy, Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi said public safety is “paramount”.

“Venues like the Brixton O2 make a huge cultural and economic contribution to our area, and nobody wants to lose that,” she said.

“However, public safety is paramount, and the gravity of December’s incident must be recognised.”

Recently it is has been alleged that security guards at Brixton Academy regularly took bribes to let people in without tickets.

A whistleblower told BBC File on Four that some members of his security guard team would each allow "a couple of hundred" extra people into venues in exchange for money and that “some staff made £1,000”.

He said that his employer knew what was going on as he had been in meetings where workers had complained about two particular perpetrators and that the subject of bribes had also been brought up in briefings but no-one had ever been reprimanded for doing it.

His employer AP Security declined to provide comment to the BBC.

The security guard told the BBC: "Our company knew what was going on and they knew the people who were doing it and they did nothing about it.

"When you let a few people in, they would text their friends, and they'll text their friends.

"And the bouncers started being greedy, and it got out of hand. And people wanted to come in anyway, without a ticket.

"You can train someone to the max, but when that happens in front of you, you actually stop… you freeze."

He was front doors when the fatal crush happened on December 15 and said that not enough security were on duty that evening with only 110 members of the security team there when there should have been 190.

The security guard described the incident as a “car crash that's been really awful - being crashed on and stamped on."