Redevelopment of well-loved Joiners Arms pub will only be granted if LGBT venue is included

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A redevelopment of an east London pub will only get the green light if it includes an LGBT club venue.

The planning permission condition is believed to be the first of its kind, and comes as London fights the loss of its LGBT pubs and clubs.

Tower Hamlets Council has told developers of the Joiners Arms that the venue must be included in its plans to build luxury flats and offices.

And City Hall will be sending an inspector to the venue, which previously counted Alexander McQueen and Wolfgang Tillmans as regulars, to ensure it is gay enough.

John Biggs, the borough’s mayor, said: “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.”

London has lost a staggering 58 per cent of its LGBT venues in the past decade as their prime locations are snapped up by developers for regeneration.

Councillors in the east London borough, which has lost seven of its 10 LGBT venues since 2006, are to vote on the redevelopment plans on Wednesday.

Developers Regal Homes, who bought the site a year before the Joiners Arms closed in 2015, said it has agreed to the local authority’s demands.

The developer in statement 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.”

Regal Homes said it has met with Sadiq Khan’s night tsar Amy Lamé to discuss the future of an LGBT venue at the site.

City Hall’s culture at risk officer, Ed Bayes, will be involved in assessing licensee applications to ensure that the operator of the new bar will be sufficiently LGBT.

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