Council’s proposed sex establishment policy is ‘homophobic’: Rainbow Hamlets talks to the BBC

BBC London news reports that amateur strip night at iconic LGBT venue the White Swan could be banned as a result of Tower Hamlet council’s recent sex establishment consultation. When invited to comment, we referred the BBC to our published response to the Council’s consultation on the proposed policy from which the BBC has taken the following:

“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.”

As we understand it, the proposed policy is unlikely to be put before the full Council until April. However we are aware that this is a matter which people feel very strongly about. We have written today to the Council drawing their attention to the BBC report and expressing our fears for community cohesion if this matter is not handled appropriately. We have also offered our assistance to the Council in developing the final draft to mitigate the effects of the policy on the White Swan.

Click here to read our response to the consultation in full. (Opens in a new window in pdf format)

UPDATE – LBTH Sex Establishment Policy Consultation

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.