We're so glad to be starting a story like this: campaigners have managed to fight off developers who wanted to turn a big part of London club culture into luxury flats. Fans of the beloved Joiner's Arms pub in East London thought all was lost after it was sold off, but it may get a new lease of life as an LGBTQI community centre.
Thanks to the work of campaigners Friends Of The Joiner's Arms, Tower Hamlets council has decided to uphold the building's status as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). That means that it's been designated as being of importance to a local community, affording it extra protection from development.
If the building goes up for sale and the council blocks planning applications to turn the Joiner's into flats, campaigners have six months to raise the funds to buy it. (The group's last petition to save the Joiner's gained over 1,200 signatures, so we think six months is doable.)
Charlotte Gerada, a spokesperson for Friends Of The Joiner's Arms, told Dazed: "It's our ambition to have the opportunity to buy the building as it is and evolve it. It's surprising how little provision there is for the queer community in London. Our idea would be to have a mixed use space for the queer community and make it an important organising space for political activities and campaigning."
She added that the group is keen to retain the spirit of the Joiner's Arms and uphold what the pub is known for. "So many venues are closing so we want to make sure there's a key clubbing space for LGBT people in London. We're not claiming that the mass closure of queer spaces in explicitly homophobic. It's implicitly homophobic though, as it doesn't recognise the importance of protecting these spaces. London is meant to be a progressive, forward thinking city with a wide range of people, where people of all backgrounds are welcome. That's rapidly changing for the worse."
This latest step towards protecting the Joiner's Arms puts a middle finger up to developers and temporarily plugs the leak of London's soul. Plus, it also serves as a valuable reminder that things can be done if you actually do something about it. So where next?