A former club promoter could open a gay bar in Aldershot as part of a three-step business plan.
Rob Cooper, 27, who used to run gay bar Scrumptious, in Guildford, has revealed his plan to open a new venue in a bid to resurrect the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) scene in the area.
The first stage of Rob’s three-step plan will involve holding LGBT events in Aldershot and Guildford.
After the two events and also an online push through two websites – the second step of his plan – Rob will either open a gay bar in Aldershot or Guildford.
“The demand is there,” he said. “The location will depend on which event has a stronger demand.
“I have a venue lined up in both Aldershot and Guildford, with financial backing from a club scene entrepreneur. The market is really appealing to advertisers and people wanting to push our brand.”
Around 20 new jobs would be created by opening the gay bar. Mr Cooper has claimed the local LGBT scene is ‘under threat of extinction’.
He said: “When I started hosting LGBT events it was a new territory to trade in a prominent location.
“However, in recent years there has been promoters and breweries who have seen the pink pound as a quick quid, with no long term commitment to the LGBT scene.
“Aldershot lost its last remaining LGBT venue, the Lord Campbell, earlier this year. The scene has been left in tatters.
“Without LGBT venues, many young adults will find it increasingly difficult to build a support network around them.
“Most people are 18 to 25 when they come out and people need a gay bar and community support to make coming out more manageable.”
The Lord Campbell had its licence revoked in July after evidence of drug-taking and underage drinking was presented to Rushmoor Borough Council. The pub is set to be demolished next year, after plans to turn it into six flats were approved by the council in the summer.
Simon Porter, former landlord of the Lord Campbell, said: “Rob’s intentions for the scene are genuine and driven by passion for the local LGBT scene, I hope the community gets behind him and there will be something for the LGBT community for years to come.”
Mr Cooper hopes through his business plan and ultimately opening a gay bar, he can provide support for the LGBT community. He has received support and advice from several celebrities in recent years, including Carol McGiffin, from Loose Women, Sugababe Amelle Berrabah and TV presenter Michael Barrymore.
Mr Cooper initially started hosting LGBT events in Guildford when he was 19 and launched Scrumptious as a bar in 2009, when he was 22, before deciding to close it the following year and moving onto other projects.
The first LGBT event will take place at Tiffanys, in Aldershot, on December 1. The Guildford event, which will take the form of a re-launch of Scrumptious, will be at Flares on December 15.