The #SaveLondonMusic Campaign was disturbed to read todays announcement that the Borderline, an iconic West end venue is to shut.
The owners announced “With ever increasing rents, rising business rates and ongoing redevelopment plans for Soho, we’ve taken the decision to close the venue by 31 August 2019. We will reinvest into the other areas of its venue portfolio with £1 million earmarked for work on the Thekla in Bristol; the upcoming 40th anniversary for the iconic Rock City in Nottingham and work underway to open its first Birmingham venue while The Garage in Islington has just won protection from the council’s local plan following a campaign to safeguard its future.
Managing director George Akins said: “This has been a difficult decision, but given intentions by the landlord to increase the rent significantly for a second time since we took it over in 2016 as well as plans to redevelop the building housing the Borderline, we now know the venue doesn’t have a long term future so it makes no sense for us to continue to invest.
“We’ve had an amazing two years at Borderline with some fantastic shows and want to thank everyone for their support from agents, promoters and artists to all the thousands who have come to the gigs and club nights. We’ve put our all into trying to revive this iconic venue but unfortunately, it has been impossible to turn into a sustainable operation due to so many external factors. This is a sad day for all of us who love live music and believe in grassroots venues.”
We have retained the Borderline name will be considering opportunities to relocate and keep the spirit of the venue alive.
The announcement comes just two years after significant investment was made in the 300 capacity venue with the aim of breathing new life back into what was one of the last surviving landmark live music venues in the heart of Soho.
George added: “DHP is still committed to creating and running the best grassroots music venues in the country. However I don’t see how it is possible in the West End when faced with all the difficulties from business rates, increasing rents and licensing pressure.”
Staff at the venue have been informed. The Borderline will continue to be run up until 31 August 2019.”.
Bally Studios, one of the founding supporters of the #SaveLondonMusic tweeted ” Incredibly sad, but also inevitable with such rent increases. London is being hollowed out, and it’s soul destroying to see it. ” Former London Assembly member for the Green Party, Darren Johnson said ”
Sad news it is closing. From seeing a newly-revived Slade there in the mid 90s, through to Bernie Torme, Fairport Convention and lots of others – from Americana to heavy metal – I have seen many great gigs at the Borderline on Charing Cross Road over the years. “. Our friends at The Music Venues Trust said ” Despite numerous letters to @hmtreasury asking them to act on Business Rates & @UK_Music detailing how failure to act would result in the closure of grassroots music venues, the government chose not to act. Maybe time to act now @PhilipHammondUK ? “
The #SaveLondonMusic campaign was disappointed that at the time of writing (Monday 13th May at 7.30pm), there has been no comment from the London nighttime Tsar or the Mayor of London, Given that the Borderline is a successful venue, we call for urgent action from the Mayor and his representatives. The #SaveLondonMusic campaign has identified exorbitant rent increases and development pressures as two of the main reasons for the loss of grassroots venues. If we want London to remain a destination, we need action today from the Mayor an the Night Time Tsar.
The #SaveLondonMusic Campaign would like to see proper protection for established venues, with a process for control of rents. Under the present system developers see venues as development opportunities. Proper listing would remove this pressure and rent controls for music venues and other arts related centres would encourage landlords who care about the cultural life of our city rather than profits to invest. A creative system of tax incentives for investments in arts related venues would help build a new type of entrepreneur, who has a vested interest in making our city better, rather than just turning over a quick profit.