Eviction threat for award-winning music venue

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

'Forced out': one of Covent Garden's oldest music venues faces eviction from developers
'Forced out': one of Covent Garden's oldest music venues faces eviction from developers

Related tags: Covent garden, Music venue, Nightclub

The Roadhouse, one of the oldest live music venues in Covent Garden, London, faces eviction if planning permission is given to developers looking to revamp the site.

Owned and run by Brian Stein of Maxwell’s Group, the Roadhouse has traded for more than a quarter of a century in the basement of Jubilee House on The Piazza in Covent Garden.

Since opening in 1992, the Roadhouse has hosted more than 7,500 live acts and, in October 2017, it scooped the Best Entertainment venue prize at the ALMR Late Night Awards.

However, developer Capital & Counties (Capco) have sought planning permission from Westminster City Council to develop the site – a move that would lead to the Roadhouse’s eviction as a tenant of the Covent Garden site.

'Greedy developers'

Brian Stein, founder of Maxwell’s Group, said: “Over the past decade in London, viable and well-patronised venues have been targeted by greedy developers because the buildings and the land on which they sit is worth substantially more when put to an alternative use such as an upmarket large-scale restaurant. Now our landlord is using the planning system to force us out.”

London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé added: “The Roadhouse is a Covent Garden institution and I’ve seen first-hand how much the venue is valued by its customers. Its welcoming door policy and programme of live music and entertainment that appeals to Londoners and visitors alike has been at the heart of Covent Garden’s night-time economy and culture for decades.

“London’s venues are vital to the capital and the mayor recently published his draft London Plan, which contains measures aimed towards protecting the capital’s night-time economy and culture – including important venues. I would urge the landlord and developer to honour the Roadhouse’s valuable contribution to London’s life at night so that it can thrive in the West End for years to come.”

A petition to save the site currently has achieved almost 6,500 signatures at the time of writing – just shy of the targeted 7,500.

Championing up and coming music

Bill Wyman, bass guitarist for the Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993, said: "The Roadhouse has been one of London’s best-loved live music venues for the past 25 years. There are few places left in central London that champion up-and-coming live music, seven nights a week.

“It’s venues like the Roadhouse that give musicians the opportunity to play in front of live audiences. I myself have enjoyed playing at the Roadhouse with my band The Rhythm Kings. To lose it would be a devastating loss for London’s live music scene.”

Developer comment

Capco Covent Garden commented: "The lease relating to The Roadhouse nightclub has expired and we plan to redevelop the unit, significantly improving the space, including providing disabled access. We have been and remain in regular dialogue with the Roadhouse. We are currently going through the appropriate processes necessary to undertake redevelopment works.

“Capco Covent Garden is a responsible landlord and long term investor in the area. We are proud of our track record of stewardship of the neighbourhood, improving the experience for visitors, occupiers and residents. More than 100 new brands have been introduced and significant investment continues to be made in cleaning, security and environmental initiatives such as ongoing greening, air quality, and public realm improvements.”

Related topics: Entertainment

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