Ealing Council seeks ban on strip clubs as last venue closes

Liam Coleman
LA Confidential Strip Club in Ealing: Nigel Howard

The London borough once dubbed the “Queen of the Suburbs” is trying to restore its genteel reputation with plans to impose a total ban on strip clubs.

Councillors in Ealing want to stop handing out sexual entertainment venue licences because they “do not support our vision for the borough and our night-time economy”.

It comes after the borough’s only lap dancing club was stripped of its licence following an inspection last June, when an undercover council officer said a dancer offered to perform a sex act on them in exchange for cash.

During the visit to LA Confidential inspectors were told that, for £100, they could go into a private room for a lap dance where they could touch the naked dancers and let the women touch them, claimed the council. They also said they found a 20-year-old dancer working at the club, flouting the council’s minimum age policy of 21.

The club in Ealing High Street finally closed its doors last month following an extended legal battle with the council over the licensing decision.

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Joanna Camadoo-Rothwell, council cabinet member for community safety and inclusion, said: “We’re very pleased that this company has ceased trading given the detrimental impact on employees and the local area caused by its non-compliance.

“I’m looking forward to consulting on a new licensing policy to further reduce the number of sexual entertainment venues in Ealing to zero, as these establishments do not support our vision for the borough and our night-time economy.”

A public consultation on a new licensing policy for alcohol, gambling and sexual entertainment is expected to go out next month. Current policy allows for up to three sexual entertainment venues to be licensed in the borough. There are already policies in neighbouring Hounslow and Richmond that prevent any strip clubs from opening.

LA Confidential continued to operate as it lodged appeals first at Ealing magistrates’ court and then at Isleworth crown court over the loss of its licence.

A new company, Purrrlesque, made a bid to take over the licence but the strip club’s bosses withdrew their latest appeal last month and agreed to surrender the licences for both LA Confidential and Club Karma, a nightclub next door.

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Ealing was named “Queen of Suburbs” by the borough surveyor Charles Jones in 1902. The council later adopted the sobriquet.

A council spokesman said: “Ealing will be consulting on changing its policy this autumn, having regard to the changing nature of its town centres ... and ambition to have a more inclusive and diverse offer for the growing number of people living and working in the towns. The council will encourage residents to have their say and will welcome their views.

He added: “Any new application will be judged on its own merits, and in accordance with the present sexual entertainment venue policy, and the licensing policy.”

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