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article imageUK's only gay bookshop faces uncertain future after rent hike

By Andrew John     Feb 11, 2010 in World
The UK’s only queer-friendly bookshop, Gay’s the Word, has been told its rent is going up by 25 percent, meaning it faces an uncertain future.
The huge hike in rent has been imposed by Camden Council, London, says The Bookseller, which adds: “The Bloomsbury-based indie . . . combated closure just three years ago after a similar rent increase which lead [sic] to a campaign from celebrity fans such as author Sarah Waters and Lord of the Rings star Sir Ian McKellan [sic] to sponsor bookshelves.”
A shelf was also sponsored by one of Britain’s oldest gay-rights organizations, the Campaign for Homosexual Equality.
The shop’s manager, Jim MacSweeney, said he was “appalled” by the increase. “Given the current economic situation, Camden has no sense of reality. We’re pulling our hair out,” he said.
A council spokeswoman is quoted as saying: “If the owner feels that the proposed increase is too high, they can provide evidence to the council to show this, which will be taken into consideration. The council has a duty to let its commercial properties at market rent.”
Councillor Andrew Marshall said: “It’s great that Gay’s the Word is there, but the problem is we deal with everyone evenly. I don’t think it can be right that just because Camden is your landlord you don’t have to pay commercial rents.”
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