Victory for West Kensington

Congratulations to all those involved in their successful campaign

VICTORIOUS campaigners who fought a long-running battle against plans for a lapdancing club are celebrating after the owners withdrew a legal challenge.

Residents near The Crescent bar in West Kensington were dismayed when owner, Passion Nights, applied to turn part of the venue into a strip club, fearing kerb crawlers and prostitutes would be drawn to the area.

An appeal was launched at West London Magistrates’ Court after councillors threw out the plans in November – but was finally withdrawn this week in the face of wide spread opposition.

Patsy Heavey, of Stonor Road, who put together a petition opposing the club, said: “We are relieved and obviously pleased.

“It has definitely affected the people living directly opposite, just by being a late night venue. It’s already causing a disruption and people are being inconvenienced.

“The 200 people who showed up at the licensing hearing showed how much people were willing to go out on a limb about this. It rallied the entire community.”

Safer neighbourhood team co-chair Joe Carlebach, 48, of Vernon Street, said: “Our concern was that a lap dancing club would bring more crime, especially with sex workers and kerb crawlers.

“It’s also right next door to a library where my children go, and I don’t want to have to explain to my four-year-old daughter what a lap dancing club is and why people are hanging around..”

And Lindsey Pitt, 40, of Edith Road, said: “Everyone thinks it’s fantastic. We’ve been campaigning since October last year because we we worried that it would bring crime, prostitution and disorder,” adding: “We wish them every success as a bar.”

Residents have been monitoring anti-social behaviour around the venue for the past six months, and the evidence they collected could well have led to the owners’ change of heart.

Planned changes in legislation are also likely to make it easier for councils to clamp down on lap dancing clubs in the future.

Ealing, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush MP Andy Slaughter, who has been fighting alongside the residents, said: “I am delighted by this outcome. I have put a lot of effort into the campaign – asking questions to the Home Secretary, petitioning locally, holding a public meeting and giving evidence at the licensing panel.

“But the main credit must go to the thousands of individual protesters and the organising committee of residents. This is a textbook case of how to fight and beat commercial interests intent on destroying a local neighbourhood for private gain.”

Sandrine Levéque, of ‘sex object culture’ campaign group Object, said: “Local women and men in West Kensington objected in their thousands to the application and did not want see sexism endorsed on their high street.

“The club’s decision to withdraw reflects the power of collective organising and emphasises the need for new robust licensing laws.”

The Ealing Gazette contacted The Crescent but no one was available to comment.

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