London

Former London mayor backs threatened 100 Club

Former mayor Ken Livingstone has given his backing to a campaign to save one of London's oldest music venues.

Owners of the 100 Club in Oxford Street say significant rent rises mean it could close next month unless a new buyer or sponsor is found.

The venue has played host to big names including The Rolling Stones, Oasis and The Sex Pistols since opening in 1942.

Mr Livingstone said live music venues should be preserved as they were important to London's economic success.

Mr Livingstone, who will represent Labour in the 2012 London mayoral election, called for a change in the law to ensure such venues are protected.

He said: "Live music is one of the biggest things that London's got that attracts tourists.

"It is a huge part of our music industry so it's nothing something trivial.

"One after another these clubs are being squeezed out of central London and I think we should change the planning law so where you've got an existing club there's a presumption it is preserved rather than as soon as you can close it and bung up a luxury block of flats or offices you get rid of it."

Heritage status

A statement from mayor Boris Johnson's office said the Greater London Authority (GLA) had no statutory powers to intervene in commercial rental costs.

Stars like Mick Jagger, Glen Matlock and Bobby Gillespie have joined fans to campaign to keep the venue open.

The Save the 100 Club campaign hopes to raise enough money through donations to buy the name, the rights, the goodwill and fixtures and fittings from the present owner and take over ownership of the club.

Everyone who donates money will become members of the the 100 Club and invited to have their say on major decisions on the venue which will be run as a not-for-profit organisation.

The trustees also plan to apply for heritage status for the club to secure its long-term future.

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