The recommendation by mayor Sadiq Khan comes as a University College London Urban Laboratory report revealed that the number of LGBT+ venues operating in the city had fallen to 53 in 2017, compared to 127 in 2006 – a drop of 58%.
During this period, Islington lost 80% of its LGBT+ locations, Lambeth 47%, while Camden and Westminster experienced a 43% decline, the study found.
A lack of safeguarding measures
The Black Cap in Camden, the Joiner’s Arms in Tower Hamlets, and the Queen’s Head in Chelsea, were among the high-profile closures.
External pressures including large-scale developments, a lack of safeguarding measures in the existing planning system and the sale and change of use of the property by landlords were among the reasons cited in the report, alongside rising business rates and rents.
The mayor has instructed his night czar Amy Lamé to act as a mediator between venue owners, developers and pub companies, set out plans to undertake an annual audit of LGBT+ venues and called on developers and pub companies to sign up to a LGBT+ Venues Charter containing the following five pledges:
Mayor’s LGBT+ Venue Charter
1. A visible rainbow flag should be displayed on the outside of the venue
2. The venue should be marketed as an LGBT+ venue
3. The venue will provide a welcoming, accessible and safe environment for all
4. Management and staff should be LGBT+ friendly
5. Programming should be LGBT+ focused
“These shocking figures show that more than half of the capital’s LGBT+ venues have closed down in the past decade and urgent action needs to be taken,” Khan said.
“I want London’s LGBT+ community to feel truly valued, happy and safe in our great city and know how important these spaces are to its wellbeing.
"We want to make it as easy as possible for LGBT+ venues to exist, and as difficult as possible for them to close.”
London’s night czar Amy Lamé added: “I want to say loud and clear – if you own or visit an LGBT+ venue that you believe is in trouble, reach out to me before it’s too late.
"I am also calling on all venue operators, developers, pub companies and others to sign up to the mayor’s LGBT+ Venue Charter and show that you are committed to keeping our precious venues open and thriving.
"I hope that together, we can stem the tide of LGBT+ venue closures and maintain London’s reputation as a global capital of diversity.”
The Marmalade Pub Company, a partnership between Marylebone Leisure Group and Ei Managed Investments – which operates Molly Moggs in Soho – has become the first signatory to the charter.