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Mayor and Dean launch legal challenge to lapdancing licence

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has announced that he will be backing the Dean of Southwark in taking legal action against Southwark Council.


The action will be to appeal against Southwark Council's decision to allow a lapdancing club to operate on Tooley Street and comes after they granted the club a licence, despite widespread objections from a coalition of partners, which included the Mayor of London, Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge Hospital, the Unicorn Theatre and the Pool of London Partnership.

The grounds for the appeal are that the licence ought not to have been granted by Southwark Council or should have been granted subject to different or additional conditions.

Although the licensing committee originally granted a licence to the Rembrandt Club on the south side of Tooley Street in December, the formalities had to be repeated this month as the proper procedures had not been followed at the original meeting.

"There is a right to appeal against Southwark's decision to grant a licence to this lap dancing club in Tooley Street within a 21 day deadline, and I have therefore decided to back a legal challenge against this lap dancing club which would be situated in an area of economic regeneration and tourism." says Mr Livingstone.

"Neither residents nor the people working in the area want a lap dancing club here.

Mayor: "Southwark has buried its head in the sand"

"I am pleased to be able to join the Cathedral in opposing this decision and will continue to work with everyone who opposes a lap dancing club at this site and I regret that Southwark has buried its head in the sand over this issue.

"The deadline for an appeal is today [Friday], so I have therefore decided to back an appeal in order to try to stop the opening of this venue.

"Southwark Council need not have granted this licence. The decision is flawed. Southwark cannot get away with arguing that they were forced to give the go ahead to this lap dancing club by the new licensing laws, when many other local authorities operating under the same laws are taking a much firmer line against this kind of establishment."

The Dean of Southwark, the Very Revd Colin Slee, added: "The targeting of the Bankside area by club owners seeking licences is a matter of very great concern to residents and institutions alike.

"We have looked to our local authority to defend the success and regeneration of the neighbourhood as a faith area and successful area. It is a matter of great regret that we have to appeal."

In a letter to the South London Press, Riverside ward councillor and council leader Nick Stanton says that "the club is inappropriate for the area, but I accept the licensing committee did everything in its powers to ensure the area and staff will be safe."

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