Majority say ‘no’ to Hackney ban on strip clubs and sex shops

Results reveal most residents living near Shoreditch strip clubs do not want a ‘nil’ licensing policy

The majority of people who voted on Hackney Council’s proposed ban on sex entertainment venues oppose the plans.

The results of the town hall’s consultation, which ran from September 20 to December 13 last year, showed that 66 per cent of those that took part were against a ‘nil’ licensing policy on strip clubs in Hackney.

A higher proportion - 76 per cent - of residents living near to the clubs, which are in Shoreditch High Street and Hackney Road, disagreed with the proposals.

More than 74 per cent of people that took part in the consultation opposed a ‘nil’ licensing policy on sex shops.

Hackney has four strip clubs - Ye Olde Axe, Browns, Rainbow Sports Bar, and The White Horse. Expectations in Great Eastern Street is the only sex shop in the borough.

Campaigners fear up to 400 people could lose their jobs and dancers could be forced underground if the council agrees to the proposals on January 26.

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Strippers, DJs and bouncers marched on the town hall on December 10 in protest. They called for stricter regulations and improved working conditions in place of a ban.

Joy London, who performs at the White Horse, joined other campaigners in saying she was delighted with the results of the consultation and the support received from many people in the community.

Pole dancer Jennifer Richardson said: “We are hoping the council will listen to the consultation results. We are still a little apprehensive.”

Cllr Chris Kennedy, chairman of the council’s licensing committee, has said he believes “sex establishments do not fit with the character of our town centres and neighbourhoods”. Human rights group OBJECT has backed the proposals.

But a report into the results of the council’s consultation concluded that: “The majority of comments identified the importance of not taking an authoritative and moral stance and opting for a “nil” policy, which would result in the current licensed establishments closing.

“The comments allude to the fact that the council’s role should be regulatory to ensure that the establishments are well-managed, that age restrictions in these establishments are enforced and ensuring that they are fulfilling the terms of their licence.”