One of Covent Garden’s oldest live music venues, The Roadhouse, faces eviction if landlord and developer Capital & Counties (Capco) is given planning permission to develop part of the building by Westminster City Council.
Owned and run by Brian Stein of Maxwell’s Group, The Roadhouse has traded for over 25 years in the basement of Jubilee Hall on The Piazza. In October 2017, it was recognised for its continued hard work in championing live entertainment, within the night time economy, winning Best Entertainment at the ALMR Late Night Awards.
Stein was in the process of renewing his lease which expired in December 2016, with heads of terms agreed, but all of a sudden Capco changed their minds and he is now battling against Capco who he fears is forcing him out to make way for a big international brand.
Capco say they need to lower the floor of The Roadhouse premises by what amounts to a few inches and have submitted a planning application to Westminster Council. Capco are trying to use the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954 to promote what they call ‘redevelopment’ so that a new lease will not be granted under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. This will be stringently contested.
Brian Stein, founder of Maxwell’s Group comments: “I believe that Capital & Counties planning application for the premises is solely designed to remove Roadhouse as a tenant and from everything I have seen, they have no intention to implement any planning consent should it ever be granted by Westminster City Council in the terms of the application they have made. This would be in line with their overall strategy which has seen them gradually phase out independent retailers to make space for more upmarket brands and big chains”.
Stein claims that documents submitted to the court show that Capital & Counties plan to create a massive 15,000 sq ft restaurant without live music by joining The Roadhouse premises with the adjacent, now empty, former Wagamama restaurant in the basement of Driscoll House. This plan, which they have not told Westminster Council about, would require a change of use because the loss of live music from the restaurant use would run counter to the Mayor’s draft London Plan which is designed to protect London’s night time economy and grass roots music venues.
Stein adds: “Over the past decade in London, viable and well-patronised venues have been targeted by greedy developers because the buildings and the land on which they sit is worth substantially more when put to an alternative use such as an up-market large-scale restaurant. Now our landlord is using the planning system to force us out”
Bill Wyman, bass guitarist for the Rolling Stones from 1962 until 1993, said: "The Roadhouse has been one of London’s best loved live music venues for the past 25 years. There are few places left in Central London which champion up and coming live music, 7 nights a week. It’s venues like The Roadhouse which give musicians the opportunity to play in front of live audiences. I myself have enjoyed playing at The Roadhouse with my band The Rhythm Kings. To lose it would be a devastating loss for London’s live music scene.”
The Roadhouse’s concerns are supported by the Jubilee Hall Market Traders who have raised concerns about the Capco plans which will disrupt their operations at the world-famous market opened by The Queen in 1987.
Stein was one of the first entrepreneurs to invest in Covent Garden after it was saved from the bulldozers in the 1970s, helping to revive the area by providing accessible ‘nights out’ in the West End. Stein, a responsible operator with over 45 years of history in running some of London’s most iconic venues, is responsible for four other sites within 100m of the Piazza and also the nearby Café de Paris.
Since opening its doors in 1992, The Roadhouse has championed live entertainment, supporting the best talent on the live music scene. The venue has played host to over 7,500 bands, musicians and artists, including Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings, Womack and Womack, Billie Piper and Boney M.
To help save The Roadhouse, please sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/support-the-roadhouse-which-faces-eviction-by-property-developers.