Stuart Jessop wins Case to close Soho’s Historic Windmill Strip Club
Puslished: 23 January 2018
Stuart Jessop has recently represented a client who was successful in opposing an application for a sexual entertainment venue licence by the historic Windmill Strip Club based in Soho, with Westminster City Council taking the decision not to renew the licence.
Breaching Licensing Conditions
Stuart’s client, a women’s rights group, The Soho Society, made a complaint that the club were breaching its licensing conditions, including physical contact between the dancers and clients.
The Soho Society commented, saying that the women working for the Windmill ‘may end up in a working environment where they are even more vulnerable than they are at present’.
The women’s rights group took action, looking to collect evidence that could then be used to prevent the renewal of the club’s licence, and this involved hiring a number of former police officers to collect evidence from within the club. As a result of this, one of the former officers claimed that one of the dancers touched him intimately and ‘rubbed herself up and down’ on him. He then described how the dancer had paid a security guard at the club £10 to ‘look the other way’.
Licence renewal Refused
The club’s owner sent a letter to the council to apologise for the club’s ‘failings’. Within the letter, he claimed that he felt confident that the club would ensure compliance moving forward, particularly following the dismissal or suspension of some of their dancers, following the allegations of breaching the ‘no touching rules’
At the Licensing hearing, Stuart Jessop argued that the licence holder was not a suitable person to hold such a licence because the breaches had happened under its watch and that although there had apparently been some improvements the evidence suggested that these would not last. The Licensing Sub-Committee agreed. The chairman of the council’s licensing committee said:
‘After careful review of the evidence provided for and against the renewal of this sexual entertainment licence, Westminster City Council has decided not to renew this venue's licence. Serious breaches of licence conditions will not be tolerated in Westminster's licensed venues. We expect any business operating under a licence within our city, to do so in a safe and responsible way, ensuring protection of all those who come into contact with this form of entertainment.’
The club now has 21 days to appeal the decision.