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Royal Vauxhall Tavern campaigners call for public buyout by the LGBT community

2017-02-02
There's been some rare good news for capital's gay scene this week after the Royal Vauxhall Tavern was granted protected status as a unique nightlife venue - but the battle to ensure it remains an LGBT-specific one is far from over. After a huge campaign by the LGBT community, including the submission of more than 600 representations and 1,000 pages of emails, and around 2,000 attached documents, Lambeth Council have now granted London's oldest gay venue 'Sui Generis' status. The classification means the pub, which has served as a hub for the LGBT community for more than half a century, cannot be redeveloped for other uses for a minimum of 10 years, representing a huge win over developers who have been trying to close the venue and turn it into private flats. There's a catch, however. The venue is currently for sale, and while it is now preserved as a unique, pub, nightclub and performance space, there is nothing to stop potential buys turning into a generic, chain pub with no connection to the LGBT community. In order to protect the Royal Vauxhall Tavern's status as an LGBT venue, campaigners from RVT Future are hoping to launch the "biggest community buyout in Britain" and allow public shares in the pub to be bought by the LGBT community to help protect its status for good. "The only way to really ensure the future of the RVT as a thriving, inclusive venue of historic and international importance is to buy it as a community - local and global," say organisers, who have set up a Just Giving donation page to help raise money to finance the legal steps required to make the plan a reality. "A lot of work has been done, gratis by volunteers but now we need to get some professional legal and financial help to make sure we get the share offer right and then take us through the process to the successful purchase of the building." If you want to help make the LGBT community's buyout of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern a reality, you can donate to the campaign's Just Giving page here. UPDATE - 15.00, 2/2/17 The chief executive of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern has released a statement today (February 2) distancing the venue's management team from the RVT Future campaign and reassuring the LGBT community that the buyer currently negotiating a purchase of the pub with the owner plans to continue to run it as an LGBT venue. Chief Executive of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern James Lindsay says: "It is my understanding that the onward sale [of the venue] is at an advanced stage to a new owner who has committed to continue to trade RVT as an LGBT venue. "Once I know more I will make a further statement." More stories: Over half of gay men say they are ‘unhappy’ with their body – exclusive ‘There’s more to me than just a body’ – Tom Daley dives into Attitude’s body issue