Have your say on strip clubs in Tower Hamlets

People in Tower Hamlets are being given their first chance to influence whether strip clubs and similar venues should be allowed to operate in the borough, under a new consultation launched this week.

The council wants to gather community opinions on a draft policy which says that there is no location within Tower Hamlets suitable for sex establishments, and that they should be restricted to ‘nil’. The consultation is open to residents, local businesses and organisations.

Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “We are proposing a new policy which would restrict the number of sex establishments in the borough.

“Local opinion has previously been overwhelmingly weighted against having sex establishments in our community. It is because of these views, along with issues of community cohesion and empowerment, concerns about level of crime and fear of crime, and the suitability of localities for such venues, that we are proposing a restriction on such businesses.

“However, we want the new policy to reflect the attitude of the Tower Hamlets community, and whether or not we put a restriction in place will be entirely dependent on the views we receive through this consultation. I do encourage people to contribute their comments on this important issue.”

The proposed policy has been drafted under legislation introduced by the previous government in 2009. The legislation gives local authorities greater powers to control and regulate sex establishments such as lap dancing, pole dancing and table dancing clubs, strip shows, peep shows and live sex shows.

Under the rules, sex establishments can be curbed on the basis of the locality being unsuitable, if the community supports this. Moral or equalities reasons cannot be used to justify a restriction.

The consultation lasts for six weeks and closes at 5pm on 17 October.

Residents, local businesses and organisations can contribute to the consultation by visiting www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/consultation and completing the online survey.

September 6, 2011