Following its consultation with LGBT people in Tower Hamlets on the subject of the Council’s Draft Sex Establishment Policy, Rainbow Hamlets submitted a detailed response to the Council setting out its reservations about the policy and the way in which it may impact upon LGBT people and LGBT venues in particular.
“We believe that the policy as drafted fails to recognise the speciﬁc LGBT impact and dimension, and as such if left unchanged will undo much good work to manage community relations. The fear expressed to us is that a licensing policy driven by a majoritarian approach by tightly knit, residential communities, may actually lead to an unwelcoming atmosphere for LGBT venues down the road and an unsafe atmosphere for LGBT people. This was the prevailing attitude until the mid 1990s which is why so many people are concerned about an interference of this nature with a gay venue.”
The response document is published in full on our documents page
At tonight’s Licensing Committee meeting a report is to be put to the committee as follows:
- The Council received more than 6,000 responses to the consultation process including more than 3,000 online responses.
- Over 3,000 responses had been submitted in hard copy and this had caused logistical problems because the information they contained had to be manually input onto the consultation database set up to assess, evaluate and report the returns.
- The scale of the response and the passion demonstrated by both supporters and opponents shows the sensitivity of this issue. It is clear that if a “nil” policy is adopted, it will probably be challenged through the courts.
- To ensure transparency, The Corporate Director – Communities and Localities has asked for the consultation assessment and evaluation process to be conducted by an external organisation.
- Outsourcing the process will delay matters. The Council hopes that the final policy and adoption report will be put to Cabinet in April 2012.
See http://moderngov.towerhamlets.gov.uk/mgConvert2PDF.aspx?ID=25202 for a copy of the interim report.