Mayor calls for urgent action to save London’s LGBT venues after report reveals more than half closed in last 10 years


More than a half of the capitals’s LGBT+ venues have closed in the past decade, a report revealed today.

The findings, which come during the annual Pride in London festival celebrating the capital’s LGBT+ community, have prompted mayor of London Sadiq Khan to call for urgent action to protect gay clubs and bars.

Along with Night Tsar Amy Lamé, he announced a series of safeguarding measures including a new LGBT+ Venues Charter, where owners and developers can commit to measures to protect their venues as openly gay.

He promised an annual audit to better track nightlife numbers to keep a closer eye on the problem, and Ms Lamé vowed to step in to mediate between parties to try and save gay venues facing closure.

Mr Khan has also vowed to confront the crisis in his Cultural Infrastructure Plan, which identifies what is needed to sustain London’s future as a cultural capital.

The action comes after the research published by University College London Urban Laboratory recorded a 58 per cent fall in gay venues, from 127 in 2006 to 53 this year.

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The Black Cap in Camden was one of the high-profile venues to close

A number of venues in Vauxhall and Soho, hubs for LGBT+ nightlife, have been sold to developers and pub chains that have made them non-LGBT+.

Mr Khan said: “I hold LGBT+ venues in very high regard and have made it clear that protecting them is an integral part of my plans to grow London’s night-time economy and culture. 

“The importance of LGBT+ venues cannot be overstated in the role they play in helping members of an often vulnerable community to take pride in their identity, and enriching London as a whole.

“These shocking figures show urgent action needs to be taken.

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Sadiq Khan said the figures were shocking and that urgent action is needed (Bloomberg via Getty Images)

“I want London’s LGBT+ community to feel truly valued, happy and safe in our great city and know how important these spaces are to its wellbeing.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for LGBT+ venues to exist, and as difficult as possible for them to close.

“That is why I called for an annual audit of LGBT+ venues and, together with my Night Czar Amy Lamé, we will do all we can to halt the closures of these precious venues and encourage others to open.”

The report showing the degree LGBT+ nightlife is under threat comes after closures of some of London’s most long-standing gay pubs, including The Black Cap in Camden, and The Queen’s Head in Chelsea.

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Mr Khan and Night Tsar Amy Lamé have announced a series of measures to help address the issue

It says they are closing because of external pressures such as development for housing, rising business rates and rents, and a change of ownership meaning venues becoming targeted at non-LGBT+ clientele.

It also highlights a lack of safeguarding measures in the existing planning system. 

The Mayor has promised to use a policy to protect new residential developments from making noise complaints against existing venues.

The first pub owners to sign up to the new five point LGBT+ Venues Charter, are The Marmalade Pub Company, who run popular Soho gay pub Molly Moggs.

It was feared the venue had become the latest LGBT venue pub to shut for good when it closed in March, but it reopened last month after a public outcry.

The charter commitments including displaying a rainbow flag, marketing the venue as LGBT+, being gay friendly and having suitable programming.

The Pride in London festival culminates on Saturday with the annual Pride parade through central London. Up to a million people are expected at the weekend’s festivities.

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Source : http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/mayor-calls-for-urgent-action-to-save-londons-lgbt-venues-after-report-reveals-more-than-half-closed-a3581081.html

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