Local council acts to secure future of iconic Soho music venue

Jeff Horton, owner of The 100 Club. Photo © Ryan Martin/Fred Perry

One of the world’s most iconic music clubs has become the first to be granted special status, under a move by Westminster City Council to protect grassroots venues.

The 100 Club, which has seen the likes of The Rolling Stones, Oasis and The Sex Pistols perform there, is set to benefit from business rates relief under plans put forward by Westminster City Council.

The council’s decision will allow the music venue, which first played live music back in 1942, to benefit from a ‘NNDR Localism Relief’. It is the first-ever live music venue to benefit from this measure and comes following discussions with London’s Night Czar Amy Lamé about supporting grassroots music venues in the city.

Under the plans, music venues in Westminster that meet the following criteria can benefit from up to 100 per cent business rates relief:

Advertisement
  • their prime purpose is as a grass roots music venue;
  • the property is on the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) register of grass roots music venues;
  • the organisation occupying the property and liable for business rates must be not for profit; and
  • the scheme primarily aims to support grass roots music venues in the Soho area, although any grass roots music venue in the borough could be assisted if they meet the relevant criteria.

Cllr Timothy Barnes, lead member for Soho, said: “The names of the bands who have graced the stage of The 100 Club read like a who’s who of showbiz – from Paul McCartney and Paul Weller to the latest acts like A$AP Ferg. Even the Gallagher brothers agreed to get on for the night when they played here.

“This latest action from Westminster City Council means the show will go on at this iconic venue. Business rates relief may not seem very rock ‘n’ roll, but – as the Rolling Stones might have said when they played at the club – it will mean satisfaction to a generation of music fans.”

The 100 Club was granted status as a Community Interest Company (CIC) in September, recognising it as a not for profit social enterprise for the public good. The business rates relief would help the club secure its financial position, saving it around £76,000 a year.

Cllr Timothy Barnes, Westminster City Council lead for Soho, Amy Lame, Night Tzar. Photo © Ryan Martin/Fred Perry

Jeff Horton, owner of The 100 Club, said: “I’m thrilled the 100 Club has been granted this new business rates relief. It means we can continue to support the careers of the hundreds of artists who take to our stage each year.

“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.”

London’s Night Time Tsar, Amy Lamé, said: “The 100 Club is an important part of London’s music history, providing a stage for up-and-coming and world- renowned acts for more than 75 years.

“Grassroots music venues play a key role in London’s thriving nightlife and that is why we’ve worked closely with The 100 Club and Westminster City Council to secure its future.

“This is the first time that special status has been awarded to a grassroots music venue and it is a great example of what can be done to support venues in our city.

“I urge other local authorities to work with us to support venues in their boroughs and help boost London’s vibrant nightlife.”

Between 2007 and 2016, the number of grassroots music venues in the capital fell by a third, from 144 to 94, and independent research shows that a fifth of venues could be forced to close due to business rates increases.

This news comes after the government announced it was cutting business rates for small-medium live music venues across England and Wales.