For more then ten years No. 9 Caledonian Road has been a Licensed Sex Shop…. but most local residents never realized this as it’s license from the Council contained several Conditions that probhibited the premises from advertising “adult” materials in the window and forbad the use of the typical red neon sign Adult Sex Shop (allowed only inside the store and not visible from the street).
Suddenly however and without notice to local residents (or even our local Concillors), this has changed as the shop has “redecorated” its frontage. This new look has created outrage as it now looks like what it is – a sex shop. Already numberous emails expressing displeasure have been directed to our Councillor who appears to have been just as surprised as local residents. He has responded quickly, and his response follows:
The latest update:
I have now been briefed by Jan Hart, the service director for public protection. She will be visiting the site on Friday.
She says the annual license renewal was implemented through delegated authority (i.e. Council officers need not present to the licensing subcommittee for decision). This power is meant to be used in situations where the renewal is routine and/or there are no objections. I have firmly emphasised to her that the public consultation notices about the annual renewal gave no indication this involved any significant change to the conditions and the consultation was therefore defective.
I have made it very clear that I expect this situation to be resolved by our officers in a way that restores the status quo and consequently the business will refit the store front to comply with the previous condition.
It turns out that the rear and basement of the shop have been combined with parts of number 11 Caledonian Rd (the “do, buy & drink” store) and number 9 has given-up the space previously used for the adult material. I have asked for a careful review of how this information was presented to the licensing officers because, if the owners have suggested this was some event beyond their control, then they have misrepresented the circumstances and can be shown to have misled the Council.
Several addressees have submitted complaints and these will be replied to by Jan Hart in due course. You may already have received holding replies.
Rest assured, this matter does not just represent an affront to residents and those of you who have tirelessly campaigned to clean-up KX. It has revealed an alarming gap in both the systems, procedures and working culture of our licensing service which needs to change. As I am now one of the small number of Exec Cllrs actually running the Council I can no longer just rant about this, it’s now my responsibility to sort it out.
I’ll keep you informed as further developments arise.
Labour Councillor for Caledonian Ward, LB Islington Executive Councillor for Regeneration, Planning, Transport and Leisure Town Hall, Upper Street, London N1 2UD
This type of immedate and thorough response by our elected representative is appreciated, but these actions must be supported by greater local involvement.
Your individual emails to the Public Protection Section at the Council addressed to Jan Hart, Director will register your feelings on this matter.