ONE OF the country’s oldest and best-known venues, The 100 Club (cap. 350) in London, has become the first music venue to be given special status, thanks to a new scheme launched by Westminster City Council.
The Oxford Street venue, which has hosted live music since 1942, has been granted 100 per cent business rates relief by its local council, reducing its overhead costs by over £70,000 per year.
“This new business rates relief means we can continue to support the careers of the hundreds of artistes who take to our stage each year,” says Jeff Horton, owner of The 100 Club.
“This is a game changing approach from a local authority in supporting grassroots music venues. I’m grateful to Westminster Council and for the continued support of the Mayor of London and the Night Czar.
“I hope that other local authorities will adopt a similar forward-thinking approach to support the music industry.”
A campaign was launched over a decade ago to help secure the long-term viability of the venue, with artistes such as Sir Paul McCartney backing a fund-raising campaign.
Westminster councillor Tim Barnes, lead member for Soho, helped push the new policy through using Localism Relief, the council’s power to define businesses they think are particularly important and deserve relief.
“If you let a venue like The 100 Club go, you wouldn’t be able to replicate 75 years worth of the most impressive music heritage, even if you replaced it with several new venues,” Barnes tells LIVE UK.
“We look at all venues on a case-by-case basis and see what sort of help might best fit them, given the pressures they’re under. We hope it’s something other parts of London will adopt, as well as cities with rich music scenes like Manchester and Liverpool.”
Under the plans, music venues in Westminster could benefit from up to 100 per cent business rates relief if the property’s prime purpose is as a grassroots music venue and the organisation occupying the property and liable for business rates, must be not-for-profit.
The venue must also be on the Greater London Authority (GLA) register of grassroots music venues and, although any such venue in the borough could be assisted if they meet the criteria, the scheme primarily aims to support venues in the Soho area.
“This is the first time that special status has been awarded to a music venue and it is a great example of what can be done to support venues in our city,” says London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé. “I urge other local authorities to work with us to support venues in their boroughs and help boost London’s vibrant nightlife.”
Among the artistes who have performed at the venue over the decades are the Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols and Oasis.