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G-A-Y owner launches bid to save Soho nightclub after extreme rent rises

August 2, 2017

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: A red neon light illuminates a shop in Soho on November 29, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The owner of G-A-Y has launched a plan to save one of the company’s famous clubs from closure.

Jeremy Joseph, whose G-A-Y business has been running for more than two decades, says the company has been handed rent and rate rises totalling hundreds of thousands of pounds.

He’s now set out a new bid to save the G-A-Y Late club in Soho after revealing it was “under threat” due to rent and rate rises.

G-A-Y in Soho in central London.
G-A-Y Bar, Soho (Photo BY JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Mr Joseph previously revealed that G-A-Y Late had been asked to cough up £400,000 a year more in rent by the property’s landlords.

He has appealed to Westminster Council, who regulate bars and clubs around Soho, to allow extended opening hours for the club.

Despite strict rules for the nighttime economy around central London, G-A-Y Late, which is open seven days a week, has put in a request to stay open until 4am each night.

Mr Joseph said he would not allow the venue to close because he was determined to “protect the jobs of the people loyal to G-A-Y”.

Writing on Facebook, he said: “The plight of G-A-Y Late is an example of how easy it is to lose a successful business, but to be clear, I won’t let it close and I will protect the jobs of the people loyal to G-A-Y.

“With that in mind I have come up with a plan – today I put in an application with Westminster Council to increase G-A-Y Late opening hours to 4am, that extra hour, 7 days a week, 364 days a year will cover the rent increase.

“I know, it is against Westminster Policy to increase hours in the stress area, but we didnt ask for rent and rates increases, but we do ask for Westminster to secure the future of an LGBT venue by making exception to policy.”

The nightclub boss also appealed to London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has pledged to protect LGBT venues after a report found more than half of London’s LGBT venues have closed in a decade.

Responding to the request, WestminsterCouncil’s cabinet member for Public Protection and Licensing, Antonia Cox, told PinkNews: “Preserving the unique culture and heritage of Westminster’s diverse evening and night-time economy is a key priority of the Council, and our policies aim to provide a balance between the interests of businesses and residents.

“We have received the application, which will be considered on its merits and in the context of our policy framework.”

Speaking to BBC Radio London recently, the G-A-Y boss told Vanessa Feltz: “It’s completely under threat.”

He explained: “Rent is just ridiculous. G-A-Y Late, one of our venues, is up for rent review at the moment.

“We currently pay up to £300,000 rent a year. The landlord is trying to get it up to £700,000, so we’re in a rent review.

“A rent review alone costs thousands of pounds.

“It’s taken six months for us to get to a point of arbitration, and I only found out a couple of weeks ago that the arbitrator will now decide how much we have to pay.

“Whatever that rent is – and it could be double – we have no say in it.”

Mr Joseph also said rate rises have increased by more than a third of a million pounds across London venues G-A-Y Heaven, G-A-Y Late and G-A-Y Bar.

“For G-A-Y, our rate increase that happened this year is now £390,000.

“The worst part of all of this is that you can review and take it to appeal which we have done.

“But what they’re not telling you is you have to pay it while waiting for it to go to appeal.

“And appeal will take up to two, three years. By then businesses who can’t afford it will be gone.”

More: G-A-Y, Gay, heaven, LGBT, London, nightclub, Pride in London, Soho

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