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Renowned LGBT Venue Royal Vauxhall Tavern in Battle Over Re-development

Despite the iconic LGBT venue securing special protections from Lambeth Council, campaigners hoping to make the venue community-owned were dismayed to discover that the building was almost sold to a new owner with a different agenda.

Dating from the 1860s, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern recently acquired Grade II listed status in recognition of its LGBT history – a move that makes radical transformation impossible; but campaigners fear that the new owner will make the Tavern onto a ‘straight’ destination, or make the upper floors into office space.

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The campaign group RVT Future are keen to preserve the LGBT status for any future use, claiming that the building’s owners Immovate deliberately side-stepped the group’s bid for the Tavern, despite them securing the an Asset of Community Value status for the venue. Whilst acknowledging that Immovate have not behaved illegally, RVT hold the opinion that Immovate have been ‘frustratingly sneaky’.

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Co-chair of RVT Future, Rob Holley, commented: “We want to bring The Royal Vauxhall Tavern into community ownership to safeguard its future for its hundreds of thousands of fans worldwide.”

Immovate have indicated that the bar at least will continue as a LGBT space, which is of some comfort. Let’s hope that they will prove tractable to the campaigners’ bid for community ownership.