Owners and supporters of the RVT clash over building listing

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The owners of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern and supporters have clashed over proposals to have the building listed.

The owners oppose a proposal to Historic England to have the building given special protected status. They say this will cause unnecessary costs and prevent repairs being carried out.

The historic gay bar – one of Britain’s oldest – has Asset of Community Value status with Lambeth council, and they say this is sufficient to protect the venue from closure or development.

Chief Executive James Lindsay says: “I’ve dedicated years of my life to saving the RVT, taking on the building and finding new partners to keep the business going.

“Listing the building would be a disaster, the last thing we need.”

Future of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, however, say that this is because the owners have a financial stake in ensuring the venue is free to be redeveloped in future.

They urge supporters not to sign the petition against the listing, saying: “The only things that would be impacted by a listing are the ease with which the Tavern could be redeveloped as something other than a pub and its market value.

“So we need to ask ourselves: why might the international property development company Immovate not be cool with that?

The best way you can secure the Tavern’s future is to keep going, to keep putting your money behind the bar, and to keep caring about its future.”

Lily Savage, Paul O’Grady’s comedy alter ego, made her name there, and it is believed Freddie Mercury once smuggled Princess Diana inside, dressed as a man.