Labour joins campaign to save The Roadhouse in Covent Garden

We (the Labour Council Candidates for St James' ward) are opposing the Capital & Counties (Capco) planning application for The Roadhouse premises at 35 The Piazza, WC2. In a letter to the Council’s Director of Planning, John Walker, we say:

“The Roadhouse has traded for over 25 years in the basement of Jubilee Hall. Since opening its doors in 1992, The Roadhouse has championed live entertainment, supporting the best talent on the live music scene. The owners were amongst the first to invest in Covent Garden after it was saved from the bulldozers in the 1970s, helping to revive the area by providing an accessible and affordable ‘night out’ in the West End.

Capco say they need to lower the floor of The Roadhouse premises by what amounts to a few inches. However, we are concerned that it looks very much like Capco are trying to use the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 to promote what they call ‘redevelopment’ so that a new lease will not be granted to The Roadhouse and Capco have no intention to implement any planning consent should it ever be granted by the Council for the current scheme.

We understand that documents submitted to the court show that Capco plans to create a massive 15,000 sq ft restaurant without live music. They plan to do this by joining The Roadhouse premises with the adjacent, now empty, former Wagamama restaurant in the basement of Driscoll House. This plan, which they have not told you and your colleagues about, would require a change of use because the loss of live music from the restaurant use.

Our concerns are supported by the Jubilee Hall Market Traders who have also raised concerns about the Capco plans which will disrupt their operations. We also understand that Amy Lame, the Night Czar, has expressed her opposition to the loss of The Roadhouse, an important Live Music venue in the West End.

We also have concerns about access and means of escape:

  • The proposed lift, which will also double as a goods lift, is not located at the main entrance. Wheelchair users will be treated as second class citizens and asked to enter by the back-door tradesman’s entrance.
  • Of the two current fire escape stairs, only one is retained. This will reduce the numbers of people allowed to use the nightclub by 200 due to the licencing laws/means of escape requirements. This will impact negatively on the viability of any Live Music venue which might be created by Capco’s ‘plans’ and demonstrates that they have no intention of implementing their proposals.

All over the West End, viable and well-loved live-music venues have been targeted for redevelopment because the buildings and the land on which they sit are worth substantially more when put to an alternative use such as an up-market large-scale restaurant. We urge you to reject this planning application.”

Councillor Adam Hug, Leader of the Labour Group 

Zayna Ali and Georgina Newson, Labour Candidates, St James’s Ward

You can sign The Roadhouse petition here

See also