BLUF Local News: London

Fighting for The Backstreet

Last spring, we wrote about the threat of redevelopment facing The Backstreet, London's only leather bar, together with information about how to oppose the application.

Nothing much has happened for a while, and so far the application hasn't even come up before the Planning Committee. However, at least some of those who objected have received letters, indicating that some changes have been made to the application. One of the chief objections to the scheme is the height - at fifteen stories, it will loom over the junction, and the revisions don't really make any attempt to address that, though they may make the building slightly less ugly.

You can view the application online at the Tower Hamlets Website and I strongly recommend reading the item COVERING LETTER DATED: 22.12.16

As well as setting out the changes, it also addresses what I presume have been complaints raised on the basis of the importance of The Backstreet to the gay community. In doing so, it attempts to suggest that it probably isn't something with a real social purpose, and that even if it was, there are other LGBT venues in Tower Hamlets that people could go to. This, clearly, is an argument that's based on the idea that one gay venue is just like another. There's even a suggestion that because some non-gay venues sometimes hold LGBT nights, there's no problem at all.

In our previous article on this, we suggested that objecting on the grounds of the awfulness of the building, the height, and other planning factors was the most important thing to do. It very likely still is - however, since the developer has tried to justify a move that would lead to the closure of the Backstreet, and in doing so has shown how little they understand it, it is probably now appropriate for people to rebut those glib "all LGBT places are the same" arguments, if they do respond.

It's not clear from the letter if responses are welcome only from those who responded the first time. Regardless, the deadline for doing so is now the 18th of January 2017.

Categories: venues

Saturday 07 January, Nigel, aka SubDirectory (3). Updated 20 Jan, 10:11 by Nigel, aka SubDirectory (3)