Statement

STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION TO A PLANNING APPLICATION

Preface

1This statement has been prepared to rebut the planning application HGY/2009/0953
2It mirrors exactly the ìsupporting information submitted under the reference quoted above

1Description of Site and surrounding area
1.1 No Comment
1.2 No Comment
1.3 CCTV does little or nothing to ensure safety. The recordings from CCTV cameras may on occasion help to identify miscreants after an event has taken place. CCTV may deter an otherwise honest citizen from a reprehensible act, it does nothing to prevent the determined criminal, the socially maladjusted or those under the influence of drink or drugs from committing anti-social acts. It is not clear how far the external CCTV extends and what point the badly behaved become the problem of the police and the community.
1.4 The surrounding area is predominantly residential. Of 71 adjacent properties circulated by Haringey in respect of this proposal I have counted only four which do not have a  have a residential component either currently or in proposal. One is a primary school. Number 184 Tottenham Lane is the largest direct access Hostel in the London Borough of Haringey with 152 vulnerable residents. The Car Wash business is temporary until planning permission on a primarily residential development is finalised. The Texaco garage site is subject to a Site Specific Proposal which will see it revert to residential should the opportunity arise. I repeat, the surrounding area is predominantly residential. For a firm of land agents to misleadingly claim otherwise borders on the unprofessional.
1.5No comment.
1.6 No comment
1.7I am unaware of any Tottenham Road in the area. Haringey’s policy in Crouch End is profoundly anti-parking. Residents near Bar Rocca, Cheekee Monkeez and The Music Palace have reported problems with cars parked by clients of these premises.
2PLANNING HISTORY
2.1This paragraph documents an apparent change from D2 to A3 in 1988. No such change was made, nor has any such change since been granted to 159a Tottenham Lane. Ths site is not now and has never been A3. Under reference HGY/1995/1286  number 159a was refused a sui generis change of use.
2.2 No comment
2.3 No Comment
3PLANNING POLICY
3.1 No Comment
3.2 The UDP cross refers to other policies published and adopted by the borough, notably in section 6.43 of TCR 5 to licensing requirements.
3.3 (a) The nature of the proposed business will generate ì a steady flow of customers throughout the day and nightî. It is the coming and going of these customers which generates the perception of fear of crime. Appendix A pertains to the actual occurrence of crime. This perception will adversely affect the mainly female clientËle of the YMCA gym and exercise hall, immediately opposite.
CLT1 also states ìThe preferred location for new facilities is in the Borough’s metropolitan and district town centres, the Cultural Quarter and Tottenham Green. Small-scale local facilities meeting a local need will be supported in local shopping centres. ì The Music Palace is not in any town centre nor is it in a local shopping centre. The tenant of the premises, Mr Hassan has publicly stated that there is no local demand [need] for a lap dancing club. Local opposition suggests that such a facility would be unwelcome
It is true that CLT2 seeks to protect all leisure facilities, but qualifies this in 9.9 with ìmuch neededî. This facility is admitted by the tenant of the premises not to be needed.
3.4But these premises are not in the Crouch End town centre.
3.5 A ìGentleman’s Clubî is not a community facility. It appears by its title to exclude from membership women, certainly it caters for their tastes only in exceptional cases.  Appendix A attests to the degrading and unsatisfactory employment conditions to which the female employees are subjected. In what way does a ìGentleman’s Clubî enhance diversity? The introduction of a facility for which the tenant of the premises states there is no local demand will not result in an improvement.
3.6 PPS1 How is this relevant? No additional land is being brought forward. What linkage is proposed between a primary school, or a terrace of houses and a lap dancing club? It is the continued well being of the community that has been brought into question by local action groups, should this permission be granted.
3.7 The Music Palace is outside all existing centres. The presence of a ìGentleman’s Clubî will do nothing for social inclusion.
3.8 PPG4 relates primarily to the location of industry. It emphasises the need to site developments so as to minimise emissions. The location of a ìGentleman’s Clubî with no local demand, requiring a large number of private hire vehicle journeys to bring in custom, will increase emissions and runs counter to Haringey’s ìGreenest Boroughî ambitions. PPG4 admits the superiority of local plans.
A local interest of very great importance is Hornsey School for Girls. The school has produced a telling video in the form of a news item stating at some length the demonstrable harm that would be caused by the presence of such a club. Parents of pupils at Rokesly Primary school have submitted objections based on the harm they perceive from the presence of such a club near to the school.
3.9The site in question, is as previously stated in a residential area away from all town centre and shopping facilities.
3.10 As stated by the tenant of the premises, there is no demand, so consumer choice would not be enhanced.
3.11 The premises are not in a town centre.
3.12. Local response suggests that the scale and impact of this proposal are unwelcome. Lap dancing is not complementary to any other evening activity. The environment will be subject to increased noise and traffic pollution from ì a steady flow of customers throughout the day and nightî
3.13 Haringey’s Licensing Policy states that Adult Entertainment venues will not be located near to Schools, Places of Worship, Residential Accommodation, Community Centres and Youth Clubs. As previously stated, the proposed location consists mainly of such facilities. To achieve an integrated approach this planning application should be rejected.
3.14 The presence of a ìgentleman’s clubî adds nothing to the choice of those of us who are not gentlemen. The tenant that there is no quantitative need for such a facility. Local residents have stated that there is no qualitative need.
3.15 Is this consideration relevant to a business which is located outside the town centre and which claims it will only ever attract a small number of clients.
3.16 No comment
3.17. No comment
3.18 ClientËle will arrive and leave the premises by private hire vehicle, thereby increasing the number of car journeys.
3.19 Would there be a facility within the premises for the gentlemen to store their cycle clips?
3.20 A ìGentleman’s Clubî appears to exclude 50% of the population in contradiction to laws on gender equality. Various studies (see Appendix A) suggest that safety in the vicinity of such a club deteriorates dramatically, especially for women.
3.21 No physical development is proposed, and the internal layout remains unchanged.
3.22 Noise has been one of the major complaints in respect of this site during its [unauthorised?]  time as operation as a night club. It is to be noted that no change is proposed to the layout, meaning that smokers attending the club will use the pavement generating noise, litter and obstruction.
3.23 Local residents query the effectiveness of such conditions at this site based on previous experience and the newly introduced smoking laws which will give rise to frequent excursions from the club.
3.24 Local residents query the effectiveness of such conditions at this site based on previous experience.
4Development Proposals
4.1 The major part of the proposal.
4.2 An extract from the licensing application
4.3 An extract from the licensing application
4.4 An extract from the licensing application. This may improve the situation inside the club, however residents and the police will be left to deal with those under the influence of alcohol or drugs, known trouble makers and their associates.
4.5 An extract from the licensing application
4.6 This is an assertion. It implies that in total there will be a greater number of movements of individuals to and from the club. Would the management be willing to accept a condition that only a limited number (to be specified) of clients will arrive or leave in any five minute period.
4.7 This shooing away of late night custom will displace rather than remove the noise and disturbance. How robust will the encouragement be? How far will the problem be displaced?
4.8 This application is for a ìGentleman’s Clubî in Tottenham Lane, it is not an attempt to prove wither that such clubs are a good thing or a bad thing. Nevertheless the applicants have submitted a series of letters and emails purporting to be from persons in positions to speak with authority on the relationship between anti-social behaviour/crime and lap dancing clubs. This ìevidenceî is of very poor quality.
One of the so called experts, Amanda McVittie, states ìI have no experience of lap dancing clubs  . . ì, she speculates on how they might operate and refers the question to another team. No evidence is provided from this other team.
Another witness, Tom Wright, states ì . . we [ ] have not been in a position to reasonably assess the application.î He then refers to a conversation with another group (I.e. hearsay). No evidence is provided from the other group.
The evidence provided in the applicant’s Appendix 1 is anecdotal, some of it is hearsay and all of it is specific to particular dates and places.
The main body of the submission contains the statement ìThere have been no reported incidents of crime or disorder or anti-social-behaviour by staff or customers at or as a result of these clubsî. This is patently untrue ñ consider the headline ìCelebrity lap-dancing club ‘is used as a brothelî from the Independent of 3rd August 2002 http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/celebrity-lapdancing-club-is-used-as-a-brothel-638635.html a reported incident of crime at such a club.
Or from the first of April this year ìPremiership star Djibril CissÈ arrested outside lap-dancing club after ‘grabbing woman by throatî http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/2009/04/01/premiership-star-djibril-ciss-arrested-outside-lap-dancing-club-after-grabbing-woman-by-throat-115875-21243800/
Whether ultimately substantiated or not, these are certainly reports of trouble associated with such clubs.
The overall assertion made in section 4.8 is contradicted by studies carried out by the Lilith Project, Object and Glasgow City Council, of which the general conclusion is that the area around such clubs becomes a ìno go areaî for women. The Appendix to this rebuttal is not well organised, it is not rigorous in its presentation, we are responding to a planning application, not to a massive social change. However, it does contain lots of pointers that lap dancing clubs are not an unalloyed blessing, and that often they bring with them very real and substantial problems
4.9 The application is for a change to a sui generis use not presently represented in the statutory instruments. The introduction of a new exception to the existing rules surely needs a strong justification. This document rebuts what little justification has been put forward. In planning terms I would expect to see as justification some evidence that the area needs a Gentleman’s Club, in order perhaps to prevent some decline in its standing; to satisfy local demand; to fill in some gap in the social provision of the area or to augment existing provision. None of these things is suggested as justification, and none of these things is true. The application should be rejected as no case has been made for introducing a further exception too the uses set out in the statutory instruments.
It is asserted that the premises are neither nightclub nor pub and that it does not rely on binge drinking. On those occasions when the club is used a venue for corporate events or stag nights it will be both nightclub and pub and will benefit from binge drinking, to the detriment of the neighbourhood.
4.10 No comment
4.11 Would the applicants agree to conditions enforcing this level of use? It seems disingenuous to suggest that the premises will become commercially viable without an increase in custom.
4.12 The applicant re-asserts the entirely inaccurate and unjustified assessment that the area is commercial.
The bus routes seem almost entirely irrelevant to clients paying ?8 admission, as does a long walk to a railway station
5 SUMMARY
5.1 The purpose of this application is to substantially increase the the levels of business at the Music Palace to the point where it is viable as a ìGentleman’s Clubî. It is disingenuous to propose that this increase in business will not be accompanied by a proportionate increase in comings and goings, whether over time or en masse. This is not acceptable in a primarily residential / educational / religious area outside a town centre.
5.2 A ìGentleman’s Clubî would contribute nothing to the vitality and viability of the Crouch End District Centre, which visibly and practically ends at  Rosebery Road and Rez the Barber. The tenant has publicly stated that custom would be sought from outside the area.
5.3 This proposal is wholly inconsistent with Haringeyís Sustainable Communities Plan. The council, in its Community Strategy for 2007-2016, makes a commitment to ëprovide support and protection to the most vulnerable people in our community .. [and to ] safeguard children and adults from abuse and neglect wherever possibleí. The plan places ëpeople at the heart of changeí and purports to be ëpeople and customer focusedí. The facts are that children at the nearby schools  have a right not to be exposed to sexually aroused men entering or leaving these premises. This is an abuse of their innocence (not to mention their safety in the case of older, teenage girls) and their right to a childhood untouched by the sex industry. In addition local people do not want this and most of the people visiting and working in the club are likely to come from outside the area, outside Haringey even. It aims for a community that is ësafer for allí ñ we know that lap dancing clubs increase sexual crime and increase fear of crime in women ñ and which promotes ëhealthier people with a better quality of lifeí ñ being involved in the sex industry is hardly a healthy career choice, either in terms of a womanís physical or mental health, or her self-esteem. Lapdancing clubs by their very nature objectify and demean women and situating one in a residential area and opposite a school will only normalise the idea that this is acceptable. We should not be telling our schoolchildren ñ who are taught about respect for others and the equality of the sexes while in school ñ that taking your clothes off for money is an acceptable and respectable career choice for girls.

13 Responses to Statement

  1. karen goldstone says:

    I strongly object to the lap dancing club in Crouch End. We all live in a very friendly peaceful place where everyone walks around. I would not want my children or myself at that matter walking the same streets as men who enjoying lap dancing.

  2. Mark Mercer says:

    Lap dancing is scarcely one step above pornography. It is an offence to Muslims, Jews and Christians alike because it represents sex without responsibility. It presents women as mere sex objects and is therefore by definition deplorable and offensive to at least fifty percent of the population. Responsible authorities should have the courage to take a stand against it. Of course they won’t. Freedom for a relatively small number of lecherous men will take precedence over any standard of decency because that is the depth to which society has sunk.

  3. Katrin says:

    I strongly object to a lapdancing club being opened up in Tottenham lane. I don’t think it’s appropriate for this kind of club to be placed in such close proximity to our schools, one being a girls school just 2 minutes away.
    I object to the term ‘Gentlemans Club’, tell it as it is and don’t let our youth be fooled that there is anything ‘Gentlemanly’ about the sex industry.
    I have no problem with women making money out of foolish men, however, we have a whole district dedicated to this kind of thing in Soho. I’m sure if our local ‘Gentlemen’ can afford to spend their money on these kind of things, they can easily put a few extra pounds on their Oysters and pop up west.

    I hope the licence wil not be granted and will protest strongly if it is.

  4. Maggie Kirby-Barr says:

    It is my opinion that lap dancing demeans the women who take part in the activity and further feeds the objectification of women as being no more than sex objects. Such powerful messages cannot fail to contribute to a disrespect for women with the flow on consequences of that for families. That the civic authorities might collude with the transmission of such values and attitudes inevitably so very prejudicial to the welfare of families, frightens me.

    I would be dismayed about the modelling that anything other than rejection of this application will convey to, in particular, young women and men in the process of deciding what will become acceptable sexual behaviour for them.

  5. Peter says:

    I strongly object to the application for planning permission for a so called “Gentleman’s Club”. Not only because it totally inappropriate for such a residential area, but also because of the strategy to hide the true purpose of the application which is to request planning permission for a “lap dancing” venue.

  6. Peter says:

    To whom it may concern

    With reference to planning application reference: HGY/2009/0953

    With respect to Para 4.12 The application does not point out and therefore chooses to ignore that the premises that are subject to a request for planning consent back directly on to a residential road: Fairfield road, and that another side is adjacent to properties on Ferme park road. The rear gardens of properties on Ferme park road are within 35metres of the rear of 159a Tottenham lane., This cannot be described as almost solely commercial in nature.

    Para 5.2 maintains that the proposed change will contribute to the vitality and viability of the Crouch End district centre, and argues that it occupies a sustainable location on a highly frequented bus route offering an all night service. However the application fails to take note of the fact that a considerable number of residents from the surrounding area see that the proposed Gentleman’s club disguises the purpose of the application which is to create a lap dancing venue and that we not feel that this is an activity or service that will bring any benefit to the area in any way.

    The letters that are included in the annex are totally irrelevant because they refer to areas that cannot be compared to Crouch End, namely, Portsmouth, Sheffield, Blackpool, and Newmarket. The only letters that would have meaning and relevance in respect of this planning application would be letters of support from the local community, of which there are none.

    In conclusion the revised application is intended to attempt a “back door” approach by describing a lap dancing venue as a “Gentleman’s Club”. It is also manifestly clear that the authors of this request have failed to take note of the concerns of the local community in any way whatsoever. The evidence of this is that they have failed to consult local residents groups, or take note of objections that have previously been filed with the Haringey authority.

    This planning application is not needed and not wanted, most importantly it is an attempt by persons who are not themselves Crouch End residents to encourage and profit from a trade in sexual behaviour that is predicated on the cynical exploitation of women.

    Yours faithfully

    Peter Chappell

  7. harmony bax says:

    Although I don’t object to lap dancing bars per say, I feel that Crouch End is not the place for an establishment of this kind.

    Aside from the goings on inside the venue, the noise and disruption outside of any club, whatever the nature of the establishment should be taken into consideration.

    Crouch End is a residential area and therefore this sort of disturbance would affect the local area considerably.

  8. Matthew Amos says:

    I have independently put in my objection to the planning proposal which I urge others to do. I am also hugely impressed with the detailed response from the lapoff campaign. Keep up the pressure and spread the word.

  9. Anna Bragga says:

    With Rokesley School just a few yards down the road, Hornsey Girls School nearby, and both Action for Kids (a charity for young people with learning disabilities) and the YMCA all within a short distance, this application must fail.

    Research shows that lap-dancing has links to prostitution, human trafficking and an increase in sex crimes against women. A 2003 report by the Lilith Project found that the rate of sexual assault increased by 50 per cent in Camden following the opening of lap-dancing clubs in the area.

    We need to do everything we can to stop this planning application. It would create a no-go area for residents and alter the character of Crouch End which is already struggling with closed shops.

    It’s fairly obvious that the people behind this idea are trying to push the application through before the laws are tightened up by the Policing Bill – currently going through Parliament. Haringey Green Party is backing the Lap Off! campaign to help make sure that doesn’t happen.

    Anna Bragga
    Haringey Green Party

  10. Susan Edwards says:

    I am very concerned that Haringey Council should entertain such a planning application. The venue is very close to a school and residential properties. People regularly get of buses nearby to walk home and I think this makes for a very unsafe environment for local residents. I personally would feel unsafe walking home after an evening out in Crouch End which I currently do regularly.

  11. Jeannette Adames says:

    Crouch End residents have worked VERY hard to build a community where children enjoy, achieve and make positive contributions. A lap dance club threatens to the very core the values that we, the residents and tax payers of this community, uphold and share.

    Our community remains galvanized on this issue. From our collected efforts to date, untold new connections and partnerships have been formed between residents, business owners, parents, teachers and neighborhood groups and as a result, we are stronger than ever before.

    We’re not going away, and we’re not going to stop watching, listening, documenting and reporting!

  12. Guillaume Charras says:

    I would like to voice my oposition against the lap-dance application. This is an area of heavy foot traffic and having this type of establishment will make it unsafe and be a disturbance for everyone.

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