Hundreds of residents in the London Borough of Lewisham are fighting to restore a popular gay pub.

The Two8Six venue, on Lewisham High Street, was recently shut after the offshore property firm, Mendoza Limited and their management company Golfrate Limited, forced the closure of the pub by sending in bailiffs and changing the locks.

At an LGBT community meeting last week, Stephen Thompson, the former licensee of Two8Six, said: “[Golfrate] are claiming that they took this action because I owed them rent when in reality it was because I refused to surrender the upper floors of the building and evict my staff from their homes”.

Mr Thompson continued: “This pub has been closed, not because it isn’t profitable, but because an offshore property developer with no connection or concern for Lewisham, wants to make money out of the land value of the pub and placed unreasonable demands on my business including raising the rent from £38k to £60k.”

Several of Lewisham’s councillors are now seeking to save the pub, which is the only LGBT drinking venue in the borough.

Formerly known as The Castle Inn, it has been serving the local community in Lewisham since the mid 1700s.