Mayor publishes most pro-LGBT+ London Plan yet
- Mayor uses London Plan to build diverse, inclusive communities
- The plan contains key protections for LGBT+ venues
- Developers encouraged to build more gender-neutral toilets
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has today (Wednesday 29 November) published his draft London Plan, which contains a raft of measures to make the capital more inclusive and welcoming for its LGBT+ citizens.
Ensuring that the LGBT+ community feels truly valued, happy and safe is a key priority for the Mayor and for the first time, the London Plan focuses on strengthening the capital’s diverse communities. The plan outlines measures to ensure all Londoners, regardless of ethnicity, race, sexuality, disability or gender are able to fulfil their potential in the capital and that the city is a welcoming, open place for everyone.
To protect LGBT+ spaces, Sadiq has introduced the Agent of Change principle in his draft London Plan. This means that developers building new residential properties near LGBT+ venues will be responsible for ensuring they are adequately soundproofed and designed to reduce sound from nearby pubs, clubs and live music venues, instead of the crippling cost falling on the pubs and clubs.
He has also called on local authorities across the capital to recognise the importance of LGBT+ venues to local communities and urged them to protect the character of areas with a high proportion of LGBT+ venues or clientele.
Sadiq is encouraging developers to provide more gender-neutral toilets in new developments in the capital, to help trans and non-binary people feel more comfortable.
Gender-neutral toilets are particularly important for trans and non-binary people, and anyone whose gender expression doesn’t conform with traditional gender roles. They help to prevent people being made to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome when using toilets that are gender-segregated, and therefore help Londoners of all genders to move around the city with dignity.
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Here in London, you’re free to love whoever you want to love and be whoever you want to be. It’s so important to me that London is a city where LGBT+ people feel valued, happy and safe - and so it’s vital that future plans for London’s development as a city have community at their heart.
“That’s why I’ve outlined important measures today that will help to protect LGBT+ venues in the city, as well as encourage increased provision of gender-neutral toilets.
“These plans will help to improve the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the capital, and send a clear message that London is a global beacon of diversity.”
Earlier this year, alarming figures were released, showing how the number of LGBT+ venues have fallen by 58 per cent in the past decade. In 2006, there were 125 venues in operation, while in 2017 there are just 53 – a fall of 58 per cent1.
One of the hardest-hit boroughs is Islington, which has lost 80 per cent of its LGBT+ venues since 2006. During the same period, Lambeth lost 47 per cent of its LGBT+ venues, with Camden and Westminster both losing 43 per cent.
Despite LGBT+ venues often being thriving and successful businesses, LGBT+ venues are closing because of external pressures such as large-scale developments, a lack of safeguarding measures in the existing planning system and the sale and change of use of the property by landlords.
Other major drivers of closure include rising business rates and rents, as well as a change of ownership, which can sometimes lead to venues becoming targeted at non-LGBT+ clientele.
Sadiq appointed London’s first-ever Night Czar, Amy Lamé, to champion the capital’s night-time economy and to take action to stem the flow of closures of LGBT+ spaces in the city2. Earlier this month, Amy published guidance3 for councils on how they can use the current London Plan to safeguard LGBT+ venues.
Since becoming Night Czar, Amy has worked with Tower Hamlets Council and local community groups to ensure The Joiners Arms in Hoxton reopens as an LGBT+ venue as part of a new development in the area.
She has also published the Mayor’s LGBT+ Venues Charter4, to help safeguard venues for the LGBT+ community. It is a practical tool that organisations can sign up to if they want to open a new LGBT+ venue or reopen one that has closed, to affirm their commitment to the LGBT+ community in London. Marmalade Pub Company, a partnership between Marylebone Leisure Group and Ei Managed Investments – which operates Comptons Cross (formerly Molly Moggs) in Soho – is the first signatory to the charter.
The Mayor has also committed to undertake an annual audit of LGBT+ venues5, so that the number of LGBT+ venues in the capital can be tracked more closely, and efforts can be made to stem the flow of closures in the city. This annual audit will feed into Sadiq’s new Cultural Infrastructure Plan, which sets out to identify what is needed to sustain London’s future as a cultural capital.
Notes to editors
Notes to Editors
1 The full report can be viewed on UCL Urban Laboratory’s website at: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/urbanlab/docs/LGBTQ_cultural_infrastructure_in_London_nightlife_venues_2006_to_the_present.pdf. More information is available at: www.london.gov.uk/lgbtvenues
2 Press release: Alarming new report shows London’s LGBT+ venues in crisis, with a 58 per cent loss of spaces in the past decade: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/mayor-pledges-support-to-lgbt-venues-in-london
3 Press release: Amy Lamé publishes guidance to protect night-time economy and culture on her first anniversary as London’s first-ever Night Czar - https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/amy-lams-first-anniversary-as-night-czar
4 Mayor’s LGBT+ Venue Charter
1. A visible rainbow flag should be displayed on the outside of the venue
- The rainbow flag is a universal symbol of the LGBT+ community.
- The symbol could be displayed as an actual flag or alternatively a sign, sticker or other physical signifier.
2. The venue should be marketed as an LGBT+ venue
- This will be an integral part of the venue’s business plan.
- Marketing needs to effectively reach the LGBT+ community e.g. through social media, print and digital journals, blogs and other relevant websites.
- Many LGBT+ venues display LGBT+ magazines/literature/posters in the venue itself.
- Venues will engage in community outreach, such as hosting events around significant dates like Pride.
3. The venue will provide a welcoming, accessible and safe environment for all
- The venue will welcome anyone regardless of background or identity, religion, race/ethnicity, gender identity or expression, disability, age or sexual orientation.
- The venue will be accessible to disabled people, in line with legislation
- The management will consider adopting gender neutral toilets. Stonewall has published guidance on this.
4. Management and staff should be LGBT+ friendly
- Door and bar staff will create a welcoming and safe environment
- Door and bar staff will be LGBT+ friendly. There are LGBT+ friendly security firms in London who provide licensed security staff (many of whom are LGBT+ individuals themselves). There are also relevant training providers.
5. Programming should be LGBT+ focused
- Where the venue programmes regular entertainment, this should be principally LGBT+ focused.
 The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published guidance for businesses at https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/advice-and-guidance/equality-law-hotels-restaurants-cafés-and-pubs
5 LGBT+ Venues Map: To access the LGBT+ venues map, visit: http://maps.london.gov.uk/lgbtq/ - to see the percentage changes since 2006
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