Researchers from the University of Kent and Middlesex University have said that Soho is under threat from gentrification
and corporatisation that threatens to rob it of what makes it so special.
Their study explains how the area is being sanitised with the number of licensed sex shops in the area declining from more than 50 to just 12. These are slowly being concentrated in just a small area and almost all such venues in Soho are now
located within a small half-a-mile block.
The process of gentrification in this area has further marginalised already vulnerable groups (including homeless populations and sex workers) and the sanitisation of the area means that many populations who have lived and worked in this area for
generations will no longer be able to part of the Soho community.
Feminist campaigners in Sheffield have won a legal case claiming that the local council failed to consider the impact on the community when it licensed
a strip club, paving the way for activists across the country to challenge similar venues.
In a judicial review in Leeds high court, campaigners argued the council had only considered the impact on women and gender equality at the branch of Spearmint Rhino, and had failed in its legal obligation to consider the impact on the wider
community -- the so-called public sector equality duty.
The council conceded partway through the case that it had not consulted properly, and must now go back to the drawing board.
The new consultation exercise could lead to Spearmint Rhino being forced out of Sheffield. However, the council said the strip club operator's current licence still stands and would not be removed as a result of the court case.
The judge in the case, Mrs Justice Philippa Whipple, criticised the council, saying it was the second time its policy on strip clubs had been successfully challenged in court. This is the second judicial review the council has conceded on the same
issue, and conceded on public sector equality duties grounds on both occasions, she said. That is disappointing. I hope council will take it seriously.
Surely everything will have to be banned if such logic is allowed to stand, after all restaurants and take aways contribute to wider obesity issues, pubs contribute to wider health issues, mobile devices contribute to no end of wider societal
issues and most forms of transport contribute to wider climate issues.
Spearmint Rhino, which has been on Brown Street in Sheffield for more than 15 years, has applied for
its sexual entertainment venue licence to be renewed.
And now the local university, Sheffield Hallam, has decided to initiate a morality campaign against the venue.
A Sheffield Hallam University spokesperson claimed the club could seriously undermine its multimillion-pound masterplan for the area.
However not all university students follow the intolerance extreme and PC that once has come to expect from academia. A female student who wrote to support the application said removing a safe workplace for women is irresponsible. She said:
Removing a safe workplace for a great many women without consulting with them or whether that is what they want and need is irresponsible at best and at worst will cause direct harm.
However the university said students walk past around the clock and are entitled to feel safe and secure. A spokesperson also claimed it undermines equality and diversity.
Councillors are due to consider the club's application on 19 June.
Update: Women protest in support of Spearmint Rhino
A Sheffield lap dancing club has had its operating licence renewed despite dozens of objections from feminists on morality grounds.
Spearmint Rhino, on Brown Street, has operated for 15 years without trouble and the chair of licensing, councillor David Barker, said there was no evidence of poor practices at the club. Granting the licence, Barker said:
There was a very strong case against sexual entertainment in general from the objectors. However, we could find no strong evidence of poor practices or detrimental impact on the local area arising from the operation of the club.
Offsite article: Trashy Swerfs in Licence Objection Failure