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Shoreditch gay pub forced to close after rent hike

PUBLISHED: 13:50 12 August 2015 | UPDATED: 13:50 12 August 2015

George and Dragon

George and Dragon

Archant

The owners of the popular George and Dragon pub in Shoreditch have announced they are to close following a “dramatic” rent hike – the latest in a spate of gay pubs forced to close in recent months.

In a heartfelt statement to punters, owner Richard Battye, wrote he could no longer keep the Hackney Road pub open and put the lease up for sale on Monday (August 10).

Mr Battye said: “Despite seven years remaining, a recent rent review has caused a dramatic increase in the cost of our lease and we don’t feel we can meet the payments and keep The George & Dragon as it is so we have decided, a little earlier than intended, that now is the time to wrap things up.

“It is possible that someone out there may have the vision and the money to keep something of the spirit going - which would be a dream.

“We will be looking for a new opportunity and hope very much that some of our dear G&D fans will be able to join us on this new journey soon.

“We’ll try to be as open as we can throughout this process as we’d love as friends as possible to join us for a drink as we begin to bid farewell to our beloved old pub.

“With thanks for your continued custom.”

Supporters of the George and Dragon, including Cllr Philip Glanville, London Assembly member Tom Copley and Stokey Local’s Nick Perry took to Twitter express regret.

Many clients took to social media calling for the venue to given an Asset of Community Value status in order to protect its future as an LGBT-friendly space.

The future of the building remains uncertain, with fears that the site will be turned into more luxury flats.

Meanwhile, the pub is still open and plans to hold UNDress video night tonight (August 12).

Details are available on its Facebook page.

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