The India Club in London has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds towards a legal battle with its landlord.
The India Club restaurant and bar at 143-145 the Strand, the same building as the Hotel Strand Continental, has been served with a notice to vacate the premises by Marston Properties, but intends to fight back. The family said they need to raise at least £50,000 for legal costs, with £10,500 already raised on the crowdfund of a target of £25,000.
In 2018, Westminster City Council rejected the landlord's previous redevelopment plans, but the family said the landlord seeks to modernise the building and run its own hotel from the property, or threatens an 80% increase in rent.
The India Club was established more than 50 years ago by Krishna Menon, India's first high commissioner to the UK, with founding members Lady Mountbatten and Prime Minister Nehru. It was a meeting place for leading figures associated with post-independent India.
Three generations of the Marker family have run the India Club for the last 23 years. It is now run by proprietor Yadgar Marker and his daughter, general manager Phiroza Marker.
On the crowdfund page it said: "Our aim has always been to preserve the India Club for future generations… fighting the landlord – a multi-million pound property developer – for three years, combined with the pandemic, has taken a financial toll. We now need to raise at least £50,000 for legal costs to continue the fight."
It also said any surplus funds or costs recovered will go towards rent and would "be a much-needed lifeline during these uncertain times".
A spokesperson from Marston Properties said: "Marston Properties is proud to have been investing in buildings in London for over 125 years. We have owned an interest in the building since 1981 and originally purchased it with the intention of running the hotel one day. For some time, we have been concerned about the viability and condition of the building. Many options have been explored over the last few years to resolve these issues including seeking planning permission for two different redevelopment schemes. We have had many discussions with Goldsand Hotels but have been unable to achieve a mutually agreeable solution with them. As the landlord we are entitled, following the expiry of Goldsand Hotels' lease, to regain possession to occupy the building for our own business use and therefore notice was served on Goldsand Hotels in August 2020."