London's historic gay pub The Black Cap in Camden closed by owners a week after being awarded 'asset of community value' status

The future of the venue is not clear, but owners have tried to gain permission to have the building redeveloped three times since 2011

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Tuesday 14 April 2015 16:55 BST
The Black Cap
The Black Cap (Google Images )

The Black Cap, one of London’s best known LGBTQ pubs and drag venues, has been closed by its owners just one week after Camden Council awarded it the “asset of community value” (ACV) status.

The pub, which has been open as a gay venue since the 1960s, was closed for the last time by owners Faucett Inn on Sunday night, the latest in a string of alternative and LGBTQ venues that have been closed down across the capital, from Madame Jojo’s in Soho to The Joiner’s Arms in Hackney.

The self-declared “Home of RuPaul’s Drag Race in the UK,” The Black Cap’s ACV status was awarded in recognition of it “furthering [of] the social well-being or cultural, recreational or sporting interests of the local community,” according to Camden Council.

The owners have reportedly tried and failed to gain permission from the council to redevelop the area above the venue three times since 2011.

The latest of these attempts was made in February, when requests to have the first, second and third floor above the venue turned into flats, which was refused, the Camden New Journal reports.

The future of the venue has yet to be revealed, Faucett Inn said it closed the historic pub as the sale of the venue’s freehold “will complete imminently”.

The ACV status is meant to give venues an added layer of protection from becoming sold and redeveloped.

If the landowner wishes to sell a property with this status, the council must be informed, and if a group wants to buy the asset, they can trigger a six month buffer period to attempt to raise the money for the site, though the owner is still within their rights to sell the property at the market rate.

In awarding this status, Camden Council said: “The community value of this pub is not solely recreational and cultural. The Black Cap plays the role of a community centre for the local LGBT people in the absence of such a dedicated facility.”

It added that the venue played an important role as a meeting point for various support groups, particularly for older LGBT people and those from ethnic minorities, for hate crime outreach work and as a venue for events, consultations and forums.

The Faucett Inn said in a statement: “The building had been the subject of a planning permission application request to convert the upper floors which was subsequently rejected by the council.

Faucet Inn thanks its loyal customers over the time it has operated the site and regrets the impact on the LGBTQI community of the closure of the venue.

“This historical venue has long been recognised as an important part of the LGBTQI community and its significant contribution to many performers on the London and international cabaret circuit.”

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