Tonight marks a pivotal moment in the battle to save London gay bar the Joiners Arms from demolition.
The management of the bar on Hackney Road, Shoreditch, were informed last year that its lease – which came to an end on 15 January – would not be renewed. David Pollard, who re-launched the venue as a gay bar in 1997, told GSN at the time that a development company is planning to build flats on the site.
Before its closure, campaigners managed to secure ‘Asset of Community Value’ (ACV) status for the venue from Tower Hamlets Council, thanks to a petition which garnered over a thousand signatories.
The ruling was seen as a minor success because it made it harder for developers to demolish the building without first offering the community the chance to purchase it.
The success is being threatend now the council has responded to calls from property owner’s Robobond to revoke the venue’s ACV status. If the ACV status is revoked, they building will be demolished.
A council meeting to discuss the matter is scheduled to take place this evening at Tower Hamlets Town Hall. The Friends of the Joiners Arms have announced plans to protest outside of the Town Hall.
‘The Joiners is at the heart of the East End queer scene: it is a place to enjoy yourself and be yourself.’ said Amy Roberts, co-chair of the Friends of the Joiners Arms.
‘It celebrated diversity and safety for the LGBTQIA community and this is why Tower Hamlets Council should support our campaign to save this iconic venue by upholding our ACV status.’
The group have also written an open letter to Tower Hamlets Council urging them to protect the venue’s ACV status for the wellbeing of the local area. The letter has been signed by representives from groups including the UCL LGBT + Forum, Hackey Green Party and the Labour Group of Tower Hamlets.