Lap Off!

So – finally – the licensing meeting to decide the fate of the lap-dancing club application at the Music Palace in Tottenham Lane, Crouch End, happened last Thursday evening.

The gallery was packed, literally packed, with those who had come to support those objectors who were presenting their case to the licensing committee to try and get this application refused.

The Chair started by asking the applicant’s representative to distinguish between lap and table dancing – which in the end it transpired was not hugely different – other than lap dancing was direct to the client’s lap (sort of obvious) and table dancing was at a table.

And then to the presentations by objectors. First up Cllr Dave Winskill (LibDem) who gave the background to the campaign, described the location (and in the end it is the location that makes this application ungrantable – if that’s a word) and put the application in context of the high level strategies that are meant to guide councillors and officers in how to achieve the sort of borough we want for ourselves and our children.

Local parent Lindsay Wright, who lives a stones throw from the proposed site (and who is two weeks short of giving birth to a baby) gave the most brilliant rational for refusal around Haringey’s own licensing policy – and showed that the application would run a coach and horses through it. When the Council’s own licensing policy says that there is a duty to promote safety and wellbeing etc……… She also, despite the difficulty, described explicitly what lap-dancing was (unlike the applicant’s answer above) with precise detail about proximity and touching – too explicit for me to put on blog.

Four further objectors the addressed the key licensing objectives: avoidance of public nuisance, protection of children, prevention of crime and disorder – and told us about the effects that the granting of this license would have on their neighbourhood, their schools, their town centre and their children.

Then the Head of Hornsey Girls School gave a fluent and effective argument against granting the application for the well being and safety of the 1400 girls at Hornsey High – just around the corner.

This was not a moral crusade – but an outpouring of the real worries about the damage that the local community would suffer if this lap dancing club were to open its doors at that location. And that was the real point – the scale of opposition was all to do with the location – near six schools, two churches, Action for Kids (vulnerable people with learning difficulties), the YMCA and right, slap, bang in the middle of a normal shopping high street in a highly residential area.

The law itself is changing. Currently, a lap-dancing club only needs the same license as a pub or ordinary club. The new law, which has gone through parliament, and which will soon be enacted – changes that. Lap dancing clubs will be counted as ‘sex encounter establishments’ which is exactly what they are. And that new law has come about because of the particular trouble and disorder etc that occurs around such places.

However, even under the old law, together with Haringey’s strategies and licensing objectives – this application can easily be thrown out. Only four months earlier the same licensing committee refused an application from Bar 22 – a similar establishment – on the grounds of proximity to residential areas.

If the committee refused that application – then how much more reason they have to throw this one out too.

However, after two hours – the hearing was adjourned because there would not have been time for the applicant to present their case properly and take questions etc. So now we have to wait for the whole thing to be reconvened.

It was very disappointing because the presentations were so overwhelmingly forceful – I have no doubt that the committee would have rejected the application – and am not totally happy that the applicant (having heard all the residents’ arguments) will now have a few weeks to prepare before the next session. However – quite frankly – the arguments against were so strong it is hard to envisage what on earth the applicants would be able to say or do to make their case.

Well done to Alison Lillystone, whose Fairfield Road home backs onto the site, and to Lindsay and Carol and Stuart – and all who made such a brilliant case.

To be continued…

0 thoughts on “Lap Off!

  1. Frankly? They’re going to poke holes in the over-the-top way this has been presented. Should have stuck to keeping them away from the schools (which is quite reasonable).

    We’ve got one of these on the high street in Southampton. It’s not a big deal. Causes no more trouble than the bars (and a lot less than some of them, since unlike a cheap bar, it has security staff). It’s had no real impact on the area.

  2. “Well done to Alison Lillystone, whose Fairfield Road home backs onto the site”

    Very much a NIMBY then – quite literally!

    Brilliant! Best laugh I’ve had all day.

    And cut the crap about it not being a moral crusade – it’s obvious what’s going on here. Yes some people oppose it for genuine reasons, but a heck of a lot of those involved in the campaign are against lap dancing regardless of location.

    Those same people are the ones who invent bogus data pretending that these places cause more rapes or other ridiculous suggestions.

    I note Lynne referred to such dishonest data on this blog. I very much hope that no one tried to use it in a presentation. If that occurred then I really hope your lose the case.

  3. Not very liberal of you Lynne to be involved with this bunch of NIMBYs ……..

  4. Hmmm, where have all the really critical comments gone? Does this overhaul of the site also include censoring anyone who makes Lynne look silly?

  5. Nope – the comments have been copied over and I’ve just checked some of the posts on this issue, and there are critical comments there.

  6. No – this thread originally had three comments, all by different people and all of which were rather good. Only one of those three remains, and that’s the least critical of the lot.

  7. I mean it had three comments before you redid the site. Afterwards it only had one.

  8. Ah, I see what you mean. There were two that got missed out in the transfer. I’ll double-check through the numbers of comments on other posts too. Thanks for pointing that out.

  9. No, “ungrantable” isn’t a word.

    Your NIMBY pandering and keel-over Daily Mailness has just convinced me to return to Labour. “New Lib-Dem” is as pathetic as it sounds.

    Stand up for your principles, not your PR persona.

    Thanks again for clarifying my position.

  10. Is this at the top of Haringey Council’s agenda?

    Aren’t there greater issues to resolve first in this austere organisation.

    I should write to my MP…