Britain’s oldest LGBT venue just got saved from redevelopment

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The oldest LGBT venue in Britain just got saved from being redeveloped.

The Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT) in south London has been granted a special status, called Sui Generis, meaning it must stay of the same use to its current functions.

The venue can now only be used as a combination of pub, nightclub and performance space.

The new ruling does not guarantee it as an LGBT venue, however they must accord to the Sui Generis status.

It comes after hundreds of campaigners wrote to Lambeth council in a major bid to protect the historic venue.

More than 1,000 pages of email evidence were submitted for the review, convincing council bosses to back the request.

The ruling means the venue cannot be turned into a chain pub or wine bar, as some had feared.

The venue is best known for an alleged visit by Princess Diana with Freddie Mercury, when he dressed her in drag.

In another positive move, the first and second floors have been defined as ancillary to the business needs of the pub – and thus protected against development into private accommodation.

There had been fears that a new buyer could convert the two stories above into residential or another different use, as a means to undermining the RVT’s protections.

One company is already thought to be in talks to buy the venue, with a view to converting the top floor into private residential accommodation.

RVT Future, the campaign to maintain the venue as LGBT, said: “Due to RVT Future’s relentless efforts over the past two years, the Tavern is now effectively locked to its current use by four legal forms.

“Firstly, Asset of Community Value (ACV) status extinguishes any Permitted Development Rights; secondly, the Vauxhall Conservation Area has been extended to include the RVT site; and thirdly, any attempts to change this new Sui Generis classification is against Lambeth’s published planning policy for pubs within the area.

“Finally, the Historic England Grade II listing protects the fabric of the building.

“This quadruple lock confirms the Tavern as “London’s worst development opportunity”.

Campaigners now want to buy the venue to guarantee its protection in future.