Met on Saturday with the local campaigners from Crouch End who are motivated to take up arms against the application for a ‘gentlemen’s club’ (i.e. lap dancing) at the Music Palace – and after listening to them I don’t blame them.
As a liberal I don’t knee-jerk against the varying tastes and occupations of folk – unless they do harm to others. On this one I have to agree that the potential for harm, nuisance, noise and detrimental impact is high. Plonking such an establishment in a local buzzing busy high street means that it is not ‘out of the way’, it can’t be avoided and women, young girls and children will have to pass it – no choice. Whether or not is is true that men will emerge in a roused state – who knows – but if they do then that could have potential for danger and even if they don’t – women feel vulnerable in the near vicinity.
As to specific worries – well in the immediate area we have Hornsey School for Girls, Action for Kids (charity for vulnerable young people with learning disabilities), Rokesly Junior and Infants School and the YMCA. But even without these particularly vulnerable groups – there are issues for anyone made uncomfortable or concerned or even frightened to walk past. People shouldn’t have to feel intimidated or worried on their own high street.
There is a Bill (am finding out the details) on the licensing of lap-dancing clubs about to go through Parliament where it is widely rumoured that instead of only requiring a normal license – same as clubs and pubs – lap dancing clubs will become for the first time ‘sex encounter establishments’ which would require a different sort of license – same as the sex industry places. I expect that is why there is a shifty on to get licensed before the change in the law – so as the local MP I will be seeking to make any changes in the Bill retrospective too.
The campaigners want me to try and ensure there is a grandfather clause – so that it is not only new lap dancing clubs in the future that have to be licensed for sexual encounter – but that those already in existence (as this one will be if it gets its license) will have to apply for the new type of license which is much stricter on a number of fronts.
So – anyone interested in joining the campaign should contact me, stating you give me permission for me to pass on your name and email address to Alison Lillystone, who is leading the campaign group.