Gay drop-in centre proposed for Soho

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Westminster City Council is supporting an initiative for a “one-stop-shop” for lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender residents in Soho, offering health and social care services, business support and an exhibition space all under one roof.

The council estimates that 10% of the 4,000 residents in the area are gay, lesbian or transgender, and if the plan goes ahead the centre will be the largest of its type in the UK.

Charity Kairos, which promotes the health and well-being of the LGBT community, is backing the scheme.

A feasibility study is to be carried out this year into the centre, which supporters say will create a space for people to set up and run community groups, get medical and social advice and care, run small businesses and even exhibit their own art or other projects.

The proposal is part of a wider Soho Action Plan launched by Westminster City Council this week.

Other proposals include creating a virtual museum to record and showcase Soho’s vibrant history and a £25million plan to revamp the 1930’s Grade II listed Marshall Street baths into a modern leisure centre.

Westminster also plans to remove all unlicensed sex shops from the area.

Following a series of joint intelligence-led operations with the Metropolitan Police the number has already been cut from 52 to eleven.

Councillor Danny Chalkley, Cabinet Member for Economic Development at Westminster City Council, said:

“Soho is a fantastic and energetic hub right in the heart of London and we want to ensure it stays this way.

“These ambitious, long-term plans have been carefully thought through with local residents and businesses to give them all better amenities, support and services and provide the area with a more sustainable future.”

All residents and businesses in Soho will be receiving a postcard giving brief details on the plan and a link to where they can find out more.