Network researcher Ben Campkin, Director of UCL Urban Laboratory, has published a report this week, co-authored with Laura Marshall, that evidences a 58% fall in the number of LGBTQ+ night venues in London since 2006.
Despite LGBTQ+ venues often being thriving and successful businesses, the study shows that they are closing because of external pressures. These include the negative impacts of large-scale developments on venue clusters, a lack of implementation of safeguarding measures in the existing planning system and the sale and change of use of property by landlords whereby venue owners, operators and clients have severely limited negotiating power compared with large organisations. 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-LGBTQ+ clientele.
The research was commissioned by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who has announced a series of initial measures to help stem the flow of closures, in response to recommendations made in the report. It is part of a larger project looking at LGBTQ+ night spaces and scenes in the capital over a longer period.