Soho bar owners relieved as redevelopment plans put on hold

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The owners of The Yard in London’s Soho are relieved that plans for a major redevelopment have, at least temporarily, been put on hold.

The Soho Yard and Stables in Rupert Street, which has served the LGBT community for a number of years, was facing plans that would see the development of flats above the existing building.

The proposals were discussed by Westminster City Council’s planning committee on January 27. The council has decided to opt to perform a site visit before making a decision.

Owners of the bar lease the freehold from Consolidated Developments. They say the proposed renovations would remove the historic appeal of the bar.

In a statement on the bar’s website, it was noted that 600 objections were sent to the council after a campaign to save the bar started.

Andy Jones, Owner of The Yard bar says “We are pleased that Westminster’s planning committee have heard our campaign to save the historic yard and stable building and decided to defer their decision until they have seen the premises. We’ve had so much support from so many people to help save them. We still need to make sure that they make the right decision and also the next application for three flats to be built on the stable roofs doesn’t get the go ahead either. So watch this space!”

Tory Councillor Jonathan Glanz said: “The proposals would be an unacceptable intensification on the site, would see customers forced out onto a busy thoroughfare to smoke creating a nuisance and would damage the local Conservation Area.

“There are very few places where customers can enjoy a drink and smoke away from the busy streets of Soho.

“Westminster seeks to preserve the culture of Soho and that doesn’t mean there should be no development, but its got to enhance the area.”

Other Soho bars have not been so lucky, and Camden’s the Black Cap also faces similar redevelopment plans.

Drag and cabaret venue Madame JoJo’s closed its doors in November, after its license was revoked following a serious incident.

Manbar also shut down earlier this month, while The Green Carnation announced it will close to make way for a new venue.