Campaigners and pub company Ruth and Robinson are locking horns over plans to redevelop Camden’s the Black Cap, which was closed amid heated protests last April.
Worried supporters of the pub are concerned the new operators will not reopen the pub as an LGBT venue or retain the Black Cap name.
Save the Black Cap campaigner Joe Parslow said: “The campaign is committed to reopening the Cap as an LGBT performance area and this is not something we are willing to compromise. We have now given Ruth and Robinson the social and moral reason for opening the venue as the Cap; respect for the space, respect for its history, respect for our community.”
Campaigners have sat down with Ruth and Robinson twice, in meetings which were described as ‘determined but friendly on both sides.’
Local Kevin Filby objected to the planning application, arguing: “It makes no reference to the asset of community value, the supporting letter mentions ‘occasional live music acts’, but the proposed drawings show no facility and despite the significance of the ongoing campaign to restore the Black Cap the application features no evidence of community engagement.”
Ruth and Robinson managing director Sarah Weir said: "I understand the passion there is for the venue and it has been helpful to get a better understanding of the campaign and history of the Black Cap. It’s a shame that the venue closed in April 2015 but our commitment and investment will see the venue re-open as a bar for the whole community to enjoy once more.
"We are discussing our plans with the Black Cap Campaign. Our initial ideas will include a range of dedicated evenings to support cabaret and entertainment artists and to specifically target and feature new, young, up-and-coming artists. It will be a place for everyone to enjoy. We are keen to establish a strong working relationship the Black Cap Campaign and the Camden LGBT+ Forum. We would like to work with them on projects such as curating art work for the venue and a programme of diversity training for staff."
Plans to turn the site into a branch of popular café, the Breakfast Club fell through, despite co-founder promises to retain the Black Cap name and run on it the same principles as the pub – ‘a place that puts itself at the heart of the community, that welcomes everyone through its doors.’