Campaigners planning to buy iconic gay bar Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Campaigners are putting plans in place to buy London’s historic gay bar, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

The RVT is known as one of the oldest gay venues in London, and is renowned as the place where Lily Savage, Paul O’Grady’s comedy alter ego, made her name.

The local community raised concern after the pub was sold last October to development company Immovate, putting its future in doubt amid redevelopment fears.

However, last month the Department for Culture, Media and Sport granted listed status to the building – thwarting plans to redevelop it.

Following the victory, campaigners who fought to keep the bar open say they are now planning a bid to buy the pub and bring it into the heart of the LGBT community.

Rob Holley of Future of Royal Vauxhall Tavern told the Evening Standard: “Once it is owned by the community it would be completely protected – unless an earthquake happened.

“Premises that do get community ownership get a new lease of life.

“People would spend more money there. We would hope that Immovate would be open to speaking to us. But we are at a stalemate at the moment.

“I have no doubt we would be able to raise the money to buy the venue  – I am confident we could do it.”

Culture minister Tracey Crouch previously praised the pub.

She said: “I am thrilled to be able to list the Royal Vauxhall Tavern as Grade II – the iconic cultural hub in the heart of London is of huge significance to the LGB&T community.

“Not only of architectural interest, the venue has a long-standing historic role as a symbol of tolerance and alternative entertainment.

“Residing in Lambeth since 1860, the landmark venue has been the springboard for so many of our loved UK entertainers.

“I am delighted that the listing will preserve the history of this venue for future generations to enjoy – I hope that it continues to be filled with laughter and joy.”