Thursday, July 13, 2006

Residents take on Council over pole dancing club

It's been brought to our attention that protests are afoot in Greenwich in response to a recent license granted for a pole dancing club in "The Plaza" on Trafalgar Road. From what we've heard the original license application was for alcohol and food only and was happily waved through. However, an ammendment was then made to the license requesting "dancing" be included.

The residents of the Plaza were invited to a meeting regarding these ammendments on the 6th July and the result was that the successful license application was sustained on the grounds that there were no "legal" reasons it could be refused. The ammendment also changed the entrance of the premises so that punters would use the residential area of Rodmere Street instead directly opposite the Cycle Discount Store. Residents now have 28 days to appeal and are having to seek legal help and more importantly funding for it.

Now, you might be wondering where the ward councillors were in all this, given it was always going to be a contentious issue. Well we know that at least one of them was probably at the LGA Conference in Bournemouth during the July 6th meeting, we're can't be sure about all of them though. Residents did however contact Cllr Mary Mills who passed the problem on to her ward councillor colleague, leader of the council, Chris Roberts.

In the letter response from the Council leader - which Greenwich Watch has received a copy of - Chris Roberts says he shared the residents "shock at the decision taken last week to locate a lap dancing club in such a prominent position". The Council leader goes on to say that "as local councillors we will be keen to do all we can to work with local residents on this matter".

There are two questions we want to ask here. First, if local councillors are keen to work with residents on the matter, why did residents have no knowledge about it until the 11th hour when it was presented to them as a fait accompli? Second, if Councillor Roberts was genuinely "shocked", what does that say about his grasp on the significant issues occuring in his own ward?


Anonymous Paul Webbewood said...

I was one of the councillors on the Licensing Sub-Committee on 6th July (alongside Ray Walker and Chris Taylor).

The premises are already licensed for the sale of alcohol and the request to allow "dancing and performance of dance" did not involve any extension of the permitted opening hours. We concluded that there were no grounds to refuse the application under the four criteria of crime and disorder, public safety, public nuisance or child protection. We did however impose various conditions.

It's true that the original license covered the ground floor, first floor and basement with the main entrance on Trafalgar Rd. Subsequently the ground and first floors have been used for other purposes and the licensee now wishes to use only the basement with the entrance via Rodmere St. The change of entrance was not part of the licensing application and the licensee will have to satisfy planning requirements before it can be used.

The residents are naturally concerned about this but the premises are not being used at present and if problems do arise they can apply for a review of the licence.

You're being unfair on Mary Mills. She attended the hearing with residents and was pivotal in making sure that their concerns were heard.

Given Chris Roberts's apparent monomania with matters Olympic I'm surprised he's not demanding that pole dancing be included in the 2012 Games.

12:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So any existing pub or club that wanted to operate as a lap-dancing club could do so provided it passed the test? Exactly how onerous is the test to refuse an application on the licensing grounds? If you can't (or won't) turn down an application in what is essentially a converted block of flats I worry about where else this could happen.

I live in the area. The conditions imposed by the committee and the suggestion that residents could appeal for a license review "if problems arise" are no comfort. To say the residents are "concerned" is a monumental understatement - many of them are devestated.

In your final comment you use this very sad situation to make a joke about Chris Roberts. Local residents have no interest in being caught up in party politics. For you to use this as an opportunity to score points against your opponent is disgraceful.

2:01 pm  
Anonymous Greezy Pimp said...

With the recent influx of East Europeans surely a club for at least the Polish to go dancing is a good thing.

2:02 pm  
Blogger Inspector Sands said...

I don't understand "anonymous"'s point, unless s/he is Chris Roberts' mother, lover or friend. Surely the most high-profile of the three councillors down that way should know what's going on? Perhaps people should engage with local politics, rather than pretending it's something that only concerns other people (which is, admittedly, usually the case, but something that can be changed).

4:00 pm  
Blogger said...

Anon - have any of the residents, including yourself, contacted an estate agent yet to see what the impact of the club will be on your property value?

6:28 pm  
Blogger Inspector Sands said...

Where does Chris Roberts live, by the way? Does he live in that end of Greenwich (the area, not the borough), or does he live elsewhere?

Not wanting to make a dig, just curious if he has to live with the consequences of his authority's decisions in that neck of the woods.

12:38 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the notice outside the Town Hall he lives in Brent Road SE18 which is in Shooters Hill

7:54 am  
Anonymous nairobi said...

inspector sands, it's you who is well shot of the mark. This is a very engaged community, which is very interested in local issues and which forms pragmatic, community-building solutions (i.e. we're not nimbys). You just have to look at the response to the Annandale School development to see what we are made of.

There's only so much we, the community, can do when our elected representatives clearly can't see the wood for the trees. If Webbewood doesn't think a pole dancing club in the midst of a residential area will cause public nuisance then he should resign now.

10:39 am  
Anonymous Greezy Pimp said...

Nairobi I think its you who is "well shot of the mark" I'm sure this issue is important to the people of that area, but will you be haranguing the council about their atrocious record on social housing, the traffic in central Greenwich, the proposed Tesco in Woolwich or the Sainsbury's on the site of the Greenwich antique market, I hope so, but I fear not the Inspectors point is just that be involved no matter whether it affects you directly or not. This oily shower have had it their own way too long, hats off to Greenwich watch for calling them on every issue major or minor.

4:36 pm  
Blogger Inspector Sands said...

Nairobi, where did I say there wasn't a "well-engaged community"? Don't invent things I didn't say.

Although since you're into building "pragmatic, community-based solutions", and you concede there's only so much you can do, especially when your main councillor lives miles away, how about challenging him and his cohorts at the ballot box? Or would that be dirtying your cause?

7:52 pm  
Anonymous Mark Etherington said...

There's a public meeting about this on Tuesday 18th July at 8pm at Lovell Hall at the Christchurch Forum (behind the church on Tragalgar Road).

6:09 pm  
Anonymous nairobi said...

Hi Inspector. You said "Perhaps people should engage with local politics, rather than pretending it's something that only concerns other people". If you don't think I paraphrased it properly, perhaps you could explain just what you did mean? As I said, I don't think it applies to our community. And I would happily stand against CR if I thought it would do any good. Peninsula Ward is a shoo-in for Labour. And we happen to have one very good councillor, one very bad councillor and one unknown (c'mon Quibell, where are you on lap-dancing?)

As for whom I should be haranguing, Mary Mills would probably tell you she has had enough haranguing from me on those and similar issues already. Ultimately it's a futile exercise though - one individual aside, the Labour Party knows that we'll continue to re-elect Labour councillors so they don't need to do anything about it.

Still waiting for Webbewood's explanation or letter of resignation.

And the next public meeting is Tuesday 25th July, venue TBC.

1:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon - any update on this situation. There have been two public meetings - any progress?

12:29 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just walked along trafalgar road, and it appears there "club" has opened... I had no clue that they were planning to have one of these clubs here. I currently rent, and the combination of this club and the addtional gambling places, makes me feel this area is going downhill, and now I will be less tempted to buy in the immediate area. Its a shame.

6:38 pm  
Blogger Doddy V said...

BRILLIANT can't wait to get a lapdance. My friends and I will be down this weekend! hopefully there will be more sex clubs opening in the area soon!! I wonder if the Councilors and Inspectors will get freebies..coool. Do they do student discounts??

10:54 am  

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