First use of planning powers to safeguard West End nightclub space

Monday 17th December 2018

New planning rules designed to protect London’s night-time venues have been put into action for the first time to ensure the future of a West End nightclub.

Original plans for the demolition and redevelopment of Wells House on Oxford Street would have seen the loss of the nightclub space that currently occupies the building’s basement. The Mayor of London’s new planning policies have been used for the first time to protect the space and ensure an entertainment venue will be an integral part of the new office and retail development.

A comprehensive study by City Hall and the Night Time Commission has shown that 1.6m Londoners – a third of the capital’s workers – usually work evenings and nights and that jobs in the night-time industries are growing faster than the wider economy. But the last decade has seen a worrying decline in grassroots music venues, LGBT+ venues and pubs. The Mayor and his Night Czar, Amy Lamé, are committed to protecting and improving the city’s night-time economy and cultural venues, and have taken action to ensure London remains an exciting and vibrant city 24-hours a day.

This includes creating the Mayor’s 24-hour vision, establishing the first ever Culture at Risk Office, which has already supported 350 cultural spaces (venues, studios, libraries etc) across the capital at risk of closure, and creating the most pro-culture planning framework the capital has ever seen.

The Mayor’s draft London Plan includes a requirement for developers to ensure existing venues, clubs and bars still have a home in new developments, and includes the Agent of Change principle, which helps protect venues by putting the onus on developers to meet the cost of soundproofing and noise-reduction measures.

Night Czar Amy Lamé said: “London’s night-time culture is the most diverse in the world and is growing faster than the wider economy. Our beloved pubs and venues play a vital role in London life.

“That’s why we are so determined to protect and champion them. We’ve taken unprecedented steps to protect these venues and I’m delighted to see one of our policies in action for the first time.”


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