The story so far
September 2014: We learn that the Royal Vauxhall Tavern has been sold to property developers Immovate. Immovate repeatedly decline to meet with the RVT community or outline their plans for the site. We get worried.
October 2014: We secure Asset of Community Value status for the pub, which protects against a sudden change of use and allows us to bid for it if it were put on the market.
January 2015: We submit a 15,000 word listing application from RVT Future’s Ben Walters, making the case for the RVT’s historic value both as a piece of architecture and as a unique community hub, to English Heritage (soon to be renamed Historic England). (You can read it here)
June 2015: A lukewarm interim report comes back from Historic England. Concerned, we round up letters of support from eminent types, artists to politicians. Ben submits a further 15,000 word supplementary submission to bolster our case. (You can read it here)
September 2015: Grade II listing is granted by Historic England, making the Royal Vauxhall Tavern the first ever British building listed for its importance to LGBTQ heritage. The fabric of the building, from its frontage to the pillars inside, is protected. We celebrate.
October 2015: We begin to plan what a Community-led Tavern might look like, and begin to research way of making that happen.
March 2016: We learn that Immovate are marketing the RVT. The ACV isn’t triggered.
April 2016: RVT Future find out that Immovate have enlisted a planning consultant who’d secured permission to demolish the Lilian Baylis School, a Grade II-listed building barely 300 metres from the RVT, to build luxury flats.
June 2016: We apply for sui generis status for the Royal Vauxhall Tavern, which would unequivocally specify the RVT’s use as an LGBTQ performance venue, protecting the usage as well as the fabric of the pub. Hundreds of people send thousands of pieces of evidence to Lambeth Council (we are currently waiting to hear whether this sui generis status has been granted.)
July 2016: The Tavern’s Chief Executive James Lindsay reports “the highest level of trading in the venue’s history” on the RVT’s website. His July 1 2016 statement read:
“Royal Vauxhall Tavern, London’s most iconic LGBTQ+ cabaret, performance and club night venue reports the highest level of sales in the trading history of the venue. This now reverses its trading position from a loss making business to a commercially viable LGBTQ+ trading entity and announces year end results on 30 June 2016 in reporting a 26% uplift in business from the same period last year.”
This once and for all dismisses Immovate’s claims that the Tavern cannot turn a profit.
August 2016: Immovate submit a counter-application. Lambeth Council afford Immovate at least the same amount of time for a public enquiry that was granted to RVT Future. The outcome of this enquiry is expected later in the year.
November 2016: RVT put up for sale by owner, Austrian property developer Immovate, with Christie & Co, a specialist advisor for buying and selling pub businesses. Community buy-out plans put on hold to deal with new threat.
January 2017: Project plan to action a community buy-out commissioned. Further crises action implemented to resist sale of RVT to new owner.