The Story of Saving The George Tavern

From Pauline Foster, landlady

As many of you know, we have overcome our battle with Swan Housing Group, preventing them from building residential property on the site of Stepney’s Nightclub, adjacent to The George Tavern.

Whilst that battle is over, the war is far from won, as we now face encroachment from developers on our flank. They are proposing to build luxury flats on the site of 2 Jubilee Street and have applied for planning permission from Tower Hamlets Council.

So far, the plans have been submitted and they’ve been sent back to the council to give us time to discuss with the developers, Music Venue Trust, Tower Hamlets Council planning department, our lawyer Tim Taylor and find a way forward with it.


Since they have taken it out of the planning system for a break, we have conducted a noise report to monitor the worst case scenario for decibel levels, and we are now working with Tim Taylor from Foot Anstey who has been successful in winning the test case for Ministry of Sound using a “deed of easement” as part of the solution, which is what we are looking to gain for our fight to protect The George Tavern’s music license.

A ‘deed of easement’ is a signed, legal document that grants the right to use another person’s land for a specifically stated purpose. The right to do something on your own land which would otherwise amount to a private nuisance can be an easement, for example, acts that give rise to noise.

In 2013, a planning objection made by the London nightclub Ministry of Sound in respect of proposed nearby residential flats was resolved by the local planning authority on the basis that the developers would procure that future flat owners cannot object to any noise nuisance generated by the club. The future use as a nightclub was to be protected by a deed of easement to allow the noise generated.

By the end of this month we will have compiled all the evidence and hopefully this will be a successful campaign for us.

When we are finally successful, and we wont budge until we are, this will be a landmark victory as we will be the first to gain a deed of easement since the test case with the Ministry of Sound, pioneering in the music venue world as a precedent for many venues to have the same battle.

With a deed of easement and appropriate sound insulation in the proposed residential building, both developers and the George should be able to coexist and come out the other end.
In related news, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been putting momentum behind his plan for an “agent of change” principle, which would be the next step in protecting music venues and clubs from being closed down due to noise complaints from new residents in nearby flats and houses.

Mayor Khan stated, “I have always thought it unfair that the burden is on long-standing music venues to solve noise issues when property developers choose to build nearby.”

Whilst this is just one step in the protection of the heritage of live music venues and clubs, it is a good step. Hopefully with the agent of change and the deed of easement, we can change the landscape of property development in London forever. We will protect our beloved George Tavern and help other music venues protect their heritage as well.

Thank you again to all of you for your continued support for The George Tavern. We are eternally grateful and will make sure that we continue to fight until the fighting is done.