The historic Yard Bar in Soho has been saved after planning inspectors upheld Westminster City Council’s decision to protect it.
The well-known LGBT venue in the heart of Soho found itself at risk, as the developer, Consolidated Property Corporation Limited, originally submitted plans to build flats over the courtyard area.
Westminster City Council first blocked those plans in March 2015, but the developer submitted subsequent applications and launched two appeals that were finally rejected in the Planning Inspectorate on 10th August.
In its final report, the appointed inspector described any move to build over the Yard’s courtyard as one which would “fundamentally alter” the character of the bar.
The decision represents a full vindication of the council’s two-year battle to protect this much loved Soho bar, which received outstanding support from the local community and the bar’s owners, who led a high-profile ‘Save The Yard’ campaign.
Cllr Robert Davis MBE DL, Westminster City Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Built Environment, said,
“Soho is one of the most iconic areas of Westminster, with a unique character that everyone at the council is committed to protecting.”
“The Yard is a jewel in Soho’s crown and I am thrilled that we have joined forces with the ward councillors and the local community to ensure it remains open for business.”
“I am absolutely delighted that Westminster City Council has been able to play its part in saving this long-standing example of Soho’s history, culture and diversity.”
The proposals for the development of three flats meant that the courtyard would have been enclosed beneath a glass roof, something which the Soho Society and Historic England also strongly objected to.
This would mean the loss of an “extremely distinctive feature of the bar and its related culture” said the planning inspector.
The Yard Bar’s owner, Andy Jones, led the “Save The Yard” campaign which brought the issue to even greater attention.
“It has been a very long battle and we are so delighted that we have been successful. The support we got from Westminster City Council, ward councillors, Historic England, Soho Society, heritage experts and the LGBT, business and residential communities was huge and unbelievable. We can’t thank everyone enough. Ultimately, all of their support helped to overcome the multiple applications and common sense has prevailed. Long live The Yard!”