Nation’s oldest gay pub ‘saved’

By Nikkie Sutton

- Last updated on GMT

Done deal: James Lindsay of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern has signed a 20-year lease with the building's landlord
Done deal: James Lindsay of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern has signed a 20-year lease with the building's landlord
Iconic LGBTQ+ venue the Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT) in Lambeth, south London, has been ‘saved’ after the pub’s CEO signed a new lease with the company that owns the building.

RVT boss James Lindsay leases the building from Austrian property company Immovate. He has agreed and signed a 20-year lease deal with the property company, securing the future of the pub as a London venue after protracted negotiations.

The new lease replaces the older short-term lease, which was due to expire in 2019.

The pub was granted a mixed use (sui generis) classification in February 2017, protecting it against development.

Terms secured

The classification meant the London pub was confirmed as a combination of pub, nightclub and performance space – and anyone looking to use it differently would have to fight for planning permission.

On the new lease being signed, Lindsay said: “As a team, we are delighted the new secure terms have been agreed and we remain committed to ensuring the preservation of our history, culture along with the diverse programme we offer and continuing the vibrancy and success of the RVT.”

Campaign group RVT Future welcomed the news of the 20-year lease being signed but said it was wary of what the future holds for the pub.

A spokesperson for the group said: “We welcome this news. We hope this stability will allow our community to flourish, and give Lindsay the certainty he needs to be able to invest in the world’s oldest LGBTQ+ venue.

“However, the situation is still very complicated. The building remains owned by Immovate and, at some stage, they will try to sell it again."

Working together

The spokesperson added: “Twenty years sounds like a long time but there are those of us who remember when the pub was almost flattened to make way for a dry ski slope in the late 1990s.

“RVT Future and its thousands of supporters continue to believe the future of the pub will only be truly secure when it is owned by the community, and we will now work with Lindsay, Lambeth Council, the Mayor of London and RVT punters and supporters from across the globe to make this a reality.

“Before this announcement, several pub companies had tried purchasing the freehold or leasehold over the past two years, which had unfortunately delayed our existing plans to launch a community benefit society fundraiser to bring the pub into community ownership. Now the path is much clearer.

“At the same time, we are continuing to safeguard the RVT by renewing its asset of community value status and we will also be keeping an eye on the venue’s Grade II-listing and sui generis status.”

Supporters of the RVT took to social media to voice their congratulations on the lease being secured for the next two decades.

Related topics: Property law

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