Words: Steve Brown
A space has been pledged for an LGBTQ+ occupier in London following backlash over the eviction and closure of XXL.
It was revealed that a planning proposal to transform Bankside’s Sampson and Ludgate Houses, just off Southwark Street, into apartment blocks had been submitted and approved.
The development will see the long-running gay club XXL – which has been operating since 2000 – be forced to close its doors on September 21, marking another gay club closing down.
However, following concerns of the loss of another gay venue, developer Native Land has promised a ‘cultural space’ within their ‘consented scheme at Bankside will be prioritised for an LGBTQ+ occupier’.
According to Southwark News, the developer will be working with the community and council to find a ‘suitable operator’.
Southwark Council member Johnson Situ welcomed the move and said town hall bosses had ‘committed to strengthening our policies where necessary to add greater protection for LGBTQ+ spaces in the future’.
Situ added that the council had been working with XXL to find a new venue in Southwark – which has reportedly loss around 66 per cent of LGBTQ spaces since 2006 - with a more ‘inclusive and diverse offer for the wider community’.
But James McNeill, one of XXL’s co-founders, hit back at the council saying they had done little to help keep the club going.
He said: “We are going to close and that’s it. Southwark Council haven’t provided us with any help.
“We had two emergency meetings. They basically washed their hands of us.”
Recently, the last remaining leather and rubber fetish club in the UK was saved from demolition by the Tower Hamlets council and McNeill argued Southwark should have made the same move.