The Court of Appeal have ruled in favour of East London music venue and pub, The George Tavern, by overturning a planning decision to allow new flats to be built in close proximity to the established venue.
The decision means that the George has won this round of legal battles, but further legal appeals may lie ahead.
The judgment turned on the fact that the luxury flats would have seriously jeopardised the unique location and photography business at the George since the only natural light source onto the first and second storey landings and historic staircase would have been eliminated. Profits from this business pay the mortgage, subsidise the live music venue and fund the ongoing restoration of the 600 year-old Grade II listed building based in Stepney, East London.
The court also had a lot to say about the way that developments like this threaten traditional live music venues in London due to the risk of noise complaints.
The Secretary of State has applied to the Judges to appeal the decision at the Supreme Court; whether they will be successful remains to be seen.
Barrister Annabel Graham Paul said, “This judgment shows the courts really are prepared to protect grassroots music venues in London and warns planners not to take a one size fits all approach. Pauline Forster has battled tirelessly to save The George Tavern and this is fantastic result for her and for grassroots music venues further afield too”.
Landlady Pauline Forster said, “I am relieved and happy that the Judges have recognised the importance of the historic George Tavern, a local pub, live music venue, film, fashion and art shoot location, and my home. I have battled tirelessly over nine nine years for something I truly love and believe in. And I will continue to do so. May the light shine through and live music live on!”
James Ketchell, Chief Executive of Music Heritage UK, who have been supporting the campaign said, “This is a huge victory for the entire live music community in London and for grassroots campaigning. It’s now time for the developers to do the right thing, realise they should cut their losses, and scrap these inappropriate plans.”
The campaign victory was covered by The Evening Standard, i-D/Vice, Dazed, Time Out, Londonist, East London Advertiser, IQ magazine, CMU and Music Week.