Iconic London gay bar must stay standing for 25 years, council rules

Councils rules redevelopment must include LGBT club for at least 25 years

Tower Hamlets council ruled in favour of a LBGT venue (Stock image)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Tower Hamlets council has ruled that one of London's must popular gar bars must remain standing - even though the building is being knocked down and turned into luxury apartments.

The Joiners Arms is the subject of a major redevelopment project, but the council has said that the new apartment block must include a gay bar, so the clientele are not displaced.

In fact, the gay venue must remain in place for at least 25 years.

The decision to preserve the Joiners Arms, which has seen visits from the likes of Alexander McQueen and Sir Ian McKellen, was approved unanimously by councillors, according to The Guardian.

It is thought this is the first time that a council has intervened in planning permission by considering the sexuality of a venue's target market.

Many campaigners had been calling for an LGBT venue to be included in the development, and despite developer Regal Homes saying it would include a gay pub that would close at midnight, this promise was described as inadequate by critics.

The venue will be now stay open until 4am on both Friday and Saturday nights, which is the current closing time at The Joiners Arms.

Regal Homes has also said that it will donate £130,000 to fit-out the venue and the first year of rent will be free. Campaign groups the New Joiners Arms and Friends of the Joiners Arms will be given the option to run the bar first.

Since 2006 Tower Hamlets has lost seven of 10 of its LGBT venues and it is thought LGBT clubs are declining as many locations have been bought by developers.

Boroughs such as Chelsea and Kensington have lost every single LGBT bar in the area and nine other boroughs are also in the same position.

Research shows that London alone has lost 58% of event locations for LGBT people during the last 10 years.