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Gay nightclub is protected from the developers

Historic Villiers Street venue is granted ‘asset of community value’ status

04 February, 2020 — By Tom Foot

Revellers inside Heaven nightclub. Photo: Linda Brindley

ONE of the world’s most famous gay nightclubs has been granted a special protected status by Westminster Council.

The Asset of Community Value (ACV) listing for Heaven means a residents or “LGBT+ community” group would get first dibs on buying the Villiers Street venue if it was closed and put up for sale. It is also intended to add weight to opposition to any future planning application to develop the site.

The venue, which has just celebrated its 40th anniversary, has run the famous G-A-Y night since it was moved out of the Astoria in 2008.

Michael Kill, boss of the Night Time Industry Association, which made the application to the council, said: “It’s great to hear it’s received the recognition for its work within the community. Particular congratulations to Jeremy Joseph who has been flying the LGBT flag for several decades.”

Heaven was founded in December 1979 in a rundown roller disco called Global Village.

In 1982 Sir Richard Branson bought it from nightclub boss Jeremy Norman and it became one of the first gay clubs in the world.

The council said that since 2006 the number of LGBT+ venues in London has fallen by 58 per cent.

Under the ACV, which has been granted following an application by Westminster Council, if the venue is put up for sale it would have to be offered to a group of local residents or LGBT community for at least six months.

Other successful applications made recently include the Hospital for Women, in Soho Square, and the Bayswater Medical Centre, while applications to protect pubs including the Brazen Head, in Lisson Grove, and Squirrel, in Chippenham Road, have been turned down.

Westminster Council LGBT+ supremo Cllr Ian Adams said: “Granting Heaven special status gives the local LGBT+ community a say in the future of this historic venue, as we know how important it is to protect the character of Soho and the wider West End.

“As an asset of community value we hope Heaven can celebrate many more birthdays.”

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