A disused queer pub in Shoreditch has been seen surrounded in scaffolding for works. 

The old Joiners Arms building in Hackney Road is undergoing reported maintenance works, almost a decade after it was closed. 

This paper was advised by the land owner Simons & Sons, that the works are "essential". 

A spokesperson for the company said: "We have been based in Hackney Road for over 100 years. 

Romford Recorder: The scaffolding came as a surprise to the Friends of the Joiners ArmsThe scaffolding came as a surprise to the Friends of the Joiners Arms (Image: Peter Cragg)"The buildings that you refer to have been vacant for many years and have fallen into disrepair requiring essential works to be undertaken to maintain them, some of which have required scaffolding to be erected. 

"This part of Hackney Road is within the conservation area, and we are working with the council regarding these repairs."

Tower Hamlets Council recognised the pub and bar as an Asset of Community Value after a campaign led by Friends of the Joiners Arms (FOTJA) sought to stop the closure. 

The council approved plans in 2017 for the site to become housing, offices and hotel space.  

As a condition of the planning permission, Tower Hamlets stated that both developments are to include an LGBTQ+ community space. 

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The site has up until now remained much unchanged since planning permission was granted to developer Regal London. 

Peter Cragg, a FOTJA campaigner, was unaware of any developments at the site until we emailed asking for the group's comment on the works. 

Romford Recorder: The building is said to be undergoing essential maintenance worksThe building is said to be undergoing essential maintenance works (Image: Peter Cragg)He said: "It's been nearly 10 years since the owners have shut down our beloved The Joiners Arms. This has hugely affected community cohesion, welfare and equality in the area.

"Having watched the once legendary pub being left to rot for nearly a decade, it is no surprise to hear that the owners are having to undertake works to maintain the building.

"The landowners may have started knocking down a few walls, but we have spent a decade building up a movement.

"A movement that has not only won historic planning protections, but raised enough money through collective, decentralised, loving support to open a new, more accessible building - the UK's first community-led LGBTQIA+ pub.

Romford Recorder: Tower Hamlets Council advised they are investigating the worksTower Hamlets Council advised they are investigating the works (Image: Peter Cragg)"We will continue to work with Tower Hamlets Council to ensure planning protections are enforced, where they can be, but our focus remains on opening a new space run for our community." 

The extent of the maintenance works is unclear. 

A spokesperson for Tower Hamlets Council confirmed that the maintenance works are not related to the agreements of the planning permissions. 

They said: “Planning enforcement officers from the council are currently investigating works that appear to have taken place at the site but are not related to the aforementioned consented permissions.”

Steve Harrington, Planning Director at Regal said: “The works taking place on the Joiners Arms building are being undertaken by the land owner, and are not connected to Regal.

"We are disappointed not to have been able to progress with restoring this iconic LGBTQIA+ venue at pace.

"The catastrophic impact of the pandemic was felt across the breadth of the hospitality sector, and as a consequence, the hotel operator that we had anticipated taking the lease fell away.

“We would like to continue to work closely with the Friends of the Joiners Arms on their plans for the future.”