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Developers ordered to reopen legendary London LGBT bar

Meka Beresford August 6, 2017

Developers of luxury flats in East London have been ordered to reopen a legendary LGBT bar that was closed to make way for the flats.

Tower Hamlets Council decided that planners must create an LGBT bar as part of the multi-million-pound development of flats.

The Joiners Arms in Hackney was closed in 2015 after development group Regal Homes bought the property in 2014.

Campaigners worked hard to prevent the establishment from being forcibly closed as it could not find an alternate venue when owners refused to renew the lease.

Having been founded in 1997, the venue became a much-loved haunt for many people, including world renowned fashion designer Alexander McQueen, musicians Rufus Wainwright and Mark Feehily as well as the actor Rupert Everett.

It comes after more than half of LGBT venues in London have been closed in the last decade from 125 venues in 2006 to 53 now.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has been a driving force in his pledge to preserve LGBT venues.

He 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.

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

Tower Hamlets Mayor, John Biggs added that it was important for the borough to celebrate diversity.

“Tower Hamlets council is committed to celebrating our great diversity, which includes serving the needs of our LGBTQ+ community.

“I am delighted that as a council we are leading the way in using innovative ways to protect spaces such as the Joiners Arms site,” the mayor said.

A spokesperson for Regal Homes said that the company was committed to providing an LGBT venue for at least 12 years.

They said: “The development on Hackney Road will re-provide a public house at ground-floor level with the same floor space as the previous Joiners Arms pub.

“We are committed to keeping this space within our development in Tower Hamlets as a LGBT venue and have offered a right of first refusal on the lease to LGBT interested parties, including the Friends of the Joiners Arms and the New Joiners Arms.

“If the lease is taken up by an interested party then the venue will be secured for at least 12 years for LGBT use. We have also agreed a rent-free period for the first year.”

More: LGBT, luxury flats, redevelopment, The Joiners Arms

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