Pub chain drops plan to buy Britain’s oldest LGBT venue, Royal Vauxhall Tavern

A pub chain has pulled out of talks to buy Britain’s oldest LGBT venue, the Royal Vauxhall Tavern.

It comes as campaigners raise tens of thousands in the hope of a community buy out.

The pub chain, Faucet Inn, has pulled out of their attempted takeover.

Faucet Inn managing director Steve Cox said: “It was only something we were having initial conversations with the vendors on.”

The chain previously closed LGBT venue The Black Cap in Camden in April 2015 when it was unable to turn the top floors into flats.

Save RVT co-chair Rob Holley said: “While we are delighted that Steve Cox has changed his mind about the purchase of the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, we are still concerned that Christie & Co. are quietly selling the pub, knowing that the asset of community value (ACV) status hasn’t been activated.”

Pub chain drops plan to buy Britain’s oldest LGBT venue, Royal Vauxhall Tavern

Campaigners from RVT Future have now raised £30,000, two weeks ahead of schedule, to set up a Community Benefit Society, which they believe will help them fight the sell-off plans and put it into community ownership.

The money will be used for legal bills, a building survey, specialist consultancy and promoting the campaign.

Recently, the RVT was granted Sui Genesis status – meaning its purpose as a cabaret venue cannot be changed.

This followed a two-year campaign by Amy Lamé and supported by a number of notable LGBT celebrities, including Sir Ian McKellen and Graham Norton.

“The Royal Vauxhall Tavern is one of the oldest and most iconic LGBT+ venues in the capital,” Ms Lamé told The Evening Standard.

“It has been listed as an Asset of Community Value, a status that is designed to ensure its future as an important community venue for generations to come and it would be unacceptable for this to be undermined.”

You can donate to the campaign here.