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The U.K.'s only gay bookshop, Gay's the Word, located in the Bloomsbury area of London, was recently notified its rent is increasing by 25%, meaning the shop's future is uncertain, the Camden New Journal reports.
The shop's manager, Jim MacSweeney, said he was appalled by the increase. "Given the current economic situation, Camden has no sense of reality," he said. "We're pulling our hair out."
The shop's landlord is a neighborhood governing body, the Camden council. "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," a council spokeswoman argued. "The council has a duty to let its commercial properties at market rent."
Councilman Andrew Marshall added, "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."
The shop was saved from closure three years ago after a similar rent increase led celebrity fans such as author Sarah Walters and actor Sir Ian McKellen to sponsor bookshelves.