Ever since LGBTQ+ pub The Joiners Arms on Hackney Road closed in 2015 after being bought for redevelopment, community campaign group Friends of the Joiners Arms have been fighting to save the venue. Tower Hamlets council approved the redevelopment of the site by Regal London on the condition that it includes an LGTBTQ+ venue as a permanent replacement for the Joiners Arms but work on the site still hasn’t begun, meaning the community has been without a queer space for six years.
Regal have now pledged to pay £100,000 towards a temporary LGBTQ+ space on the site, to open as soon as construction begins, in what is believed to be the first time a property developer has paid for a temporary queer venue as a condition of planning permission.
As Amy Roberts, Chair of Friends of the Joiners Arms, says, “We have always said that the best thing for the local and wider queer community, and existing residents, would be provision of much needed social housing and the re-opening of the Joiners Arms as a unique, wonky, community-run queer pub. If the development goes ahead, we need to ensure the queer community has a long-term replacement venue plus a meanwhile space to
compensate for years of enforced closure.”