Puritanical borough of Hackney bans ‘sex’ establishments

Dancers & other workers protest outside Hackney Town Hall December 2010. Photo courtesy of YD Photo Agency. Click to enlarge.

“Earlier draconian proposals included that all ‘sex’ establishments to be located below ground level with entrances “away from main thoroughfare”, meaning anywhere but the high street it’s located on.  An alley maybe?”

Hackney council have agreed to ban any future adult establishments in the borough despite protest from employees of adult establishments, and 67 per cent of respondents to the consultation, being against a nil policy.

However the existing businesses in the borough, which consist of four lap dancing clubs: Rainbow Sports Bar, Browns, The White Horse, Ye Old Axe clubs and the lone sex shop –  Expectations, all located in Haggerston Ward, will be allowed to continue providing they adhere to certain conditions, referred to in an amended proposal.

All but two councillors at last nights meeting voted for the amended version. Cllrs Angus Mulready-Jones and Cllrs Geoff Taylor have consistently opposed the proposal.

Pauline Bristow part owner and Licensee of the White Horse in Shoreditch High street has owned her business for 32 years responded by saying:

“I’m disappointed about Hackneys decision but it was expected”, she told Hackney Hive. “Until I read the final documentation, there isn’t much I can say.

“There has been so many changes to what is already a strange and baffling worded document”.

Bristow’s establishment falls under what Hackney council consider ‘longstanding and well run’, so for now The White Horse will remain and along with all the others, it’s license will come up for renewal once a year. Asked if she and others would consider challenging Hackney councils ruling, she said “That is a possibility, again it all depends on how the policy reads, I yet have to see it”.

Other draconian proposals included that all ‘sex’ establishments to be located below ground level with entrances “away from main thoroughfare”, meaning anywhere but the high street it’s located on.  An alley maybe?

Another unrealistic condition was that dancers would only be allowed to touch the punters on their hand, which meant should a dancer recognise a favorite patron of the club and decided to say hello with an embrace, it could very well go against the establishment when it comes up for renewal.

While Hackney council have come down heavily on certain adult establishments, others such as saunas and massage parlours have been left untouched and that is because the grey area of massage and saunas fall under Massage & Special Treatment (MST), which also covers beauty salons that offer manicures and waxing. A recent phone call to a Chatsworth Road Sauna made it clear to me, that their massage services were only available to men.

Ultimately it’s obvious that Hackney’s adult establishments will continue to stay in business at the mercy of the council, sanctimonious groups and residents who feel uncomfortable about commercial adult pleasures.

About Remi Makinde

Remi Makinde Hackney Hive founder, publisher and contributor. Hackneyite and all round Girl Friday, who couldn't wait to leave Hackney and London behind her. After hitching her wagon in California, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana for 18 years, with a brief spell in Mexico, the prodigal daughter returned happy to put an unconventional and risqué past behind her. She is owned by her two dogs Deffer(a Jack Russell & Darcy a Jack Russell/Pomeranian mix) and runs a London based pet sitting business. The big smoke is home for the moment, but she desperately yearns wide open spaces, where she hopes to call home in the near future.

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One Response to "Puritanical borough of Hackney bans ‘sex’ establishments"

  1. Lapsed Agnostic  29/01/2011 at 11:35 am

    I love it. Brothels are allowed to remain in business but gay shops that sell condoms, adult toys and books can not open in Hackney? And those in ‘good standing’ will have big daddy Hackney watching over it’s shoulders.

    Nothing wrong with a well run discreet brothel, but it all seems a little lopsided.

    Can someone explain this to me because I’m confused.

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