London Developer Told It Must Run A Gay Club On This Site
Tower Hamlets Council has approved housing redevelopment of an East London gay pub — but on the condition that the scheme must include an LGBT nightclub for at least the next 25 years, the Guardian reports.
The move is the first of its kind in the U.K. London has lost 58% of its LGBT venues over the last decade, most often to residential conversion. Tower Hamlets, which has benefitted from the East London property boom, has lost seven of its 10 gay bars since 2006.
The decision, on a planning application by Regal Homes, will allow the demolition of the existing Joiners Arms pub on strict terms.
Regal must ensure the venue will be leased to an LGBTQ operator, pay £130K toward the fit-out and forgive the first year’s rent.
Joiners Arms, which once counted actor Sir Ian McKellen and designer Alexander McQueen among a varied clientele, closed in 2015, but a boisterous campaign spurred Tower Hamlets council to take action.
The demise of London’s gay pubs has been driven by rising property values — which mean the residual value of the premises as a residential development site invariably exceeds that of a working pub. Yields on London pubs vary between 2% and 4%.