Committee unanimously backs Secret's renewal application
Committee unanimously supported renewal of strip club's licence
A Hammersmith strip club has fended off claims that it should be banned from reopening due its location next to two schools.
Secrets, in Glenthorne Road,, was given the green light by councillors for its licence renewal application on May 19.
One of the neighbouring schools, fee-paying Godolphin and Latymer, had objected to the club’s wish to open from 6pm. But this objection was withdrawn after Secrets’ owners agreed to push back its daily opening time to 9pm.
West London Free School Primary is also located directly behind the club.
Members of Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s licensing committee had been urged by Labour councillors to block the club’s reopening.
The club is not far from The Godolphin & Latymer school
Ahead of the meeting, Councillor Patricia Quiqley wrote, “These types of ‘clubs’ in my view undermine any serious efforts to eliminate harassment and promote equality. And they certainly have no business operating in a highly residential area.”
Councillor PJ Murphy, the current mayor of Hammersmith and Fulham, wrote, “The fact that Secrets is sited in such a residential area aids the mixed messaging of male dominance being acceptable in a modern society…
“The club’s very existence undermines our efforts to eliminate harassment and promote equality. Women will never be seen as equal when they are available for purchase.”
He added, “Other councils have taken steps to ban these types of venues and Hammersmith and Fulham should do the same.”
West London Free School Primary is directly behind the club
Secrets’ managers had defended their business in a letter to the council’s head of safeguarding.
They said, “The renewal application is made on the same terms as those that currently apply and have done for many years.
“We have operated from the venue since July 1997 and always to the highest of standards…
“We operate with great sensitivity, for example there is limited and discreet advertising at the premises as to the nature of the venue.”
It added, “We have operated from the site without any complaints or issues arising from any of the schools to which you refer for nearly 25 years.”
The three-person licensing committee all voted to renew the club’s licence.
One of the members, Conservative councillor Matt Thorley, said, “There’s a presumption in favour with SEVs [sexual entertainment venues] unless there’s a very strong reason for refusing.”
He also explained that an objection based on Hammersmith Broadway having high levels of anti-social behaviour would not have provided a cause for blocking the licence. This was because the council would have needed to demonstrate a link between the club and incidents of anti-social behaviour.
Owen Sheppard - Local Democracy Reporter
May 20, 2021