British morality police.
Spoiling the fun of the many,
on the complaints of the few
The owner of a swingers' club says a council could face legal action under anti-discrimination laws.
Stewart Hobbs owns Club Tease in Over, which was shut down last week after a raid by police and council officers.
But he is claiming victimisation and has continued running the venue, despite a closure order from police.
Enforcement officers from South Cambs District Council, along with police, were given a court warrant for a breach of planning control on the land, which they served on Hobbs.
The club has proved controversial since it opened in 2008, when villagers expressed concerns about its morality. Its owners applied for planning permission for a change of use at the building, from light industrial to private members' club with
rooms for sexual activities on June 5, 2008.
The application was rejected and an appeal by the club was lost on the bollox grounds that as no public transport was available, extra car journeys in the village would disturb residents and make the development unsustainable .
[Is that the best they could come up?]
But Hobbs justifiably believes he is being singled out because of the nature of his business. He told the News: They are using sustainability as a reason but what about the other businesses in the estate which have a lot more traffic? I have
some gay, transsexual and lesbian clients and I have been keeping them abreast of the situation. They are looking at taking the council to court for discrimination.
I feel really victimised. Why are they going to all this trouble and the cost to taxpayers of having six council officers and two police officers coming to my club to shut me down with a warrant just for little old me? It's just got totally
out of hand. The club has 2,500 members and average numbers at the venue at weekends are around 40, according to Hobbs.
A council spokesprat said: We know another appeal has been lodged with the planning inspectorate and we will follow what happens. As an enforcement notice was issued on the club, and the compliance period for that has expired, any further
activity is now a criminal offence. After executing our warrant at the club at the end of July we submitted a prosecution file to our solicitors who will decide whether to take this further.
Club Tease IS still open. Oblivion is still running. The newspaper should be running a retraction saying the club is still able to run due to planning being granted.
They have had to deal with do-gooders going against all applications for planning since they opened. Morally-anal people who don't like our kind upsetting the village etc etc. I doubt it will end any time soon. There
are people who won't just let dogs lay.
Club Tease is a swingers club in Over near Cambridge. It was previously named XScape, but changed for trade mark reasons.
The club has been having a hard time from South Cambs District Council.
From Club Tease:
We have had our business rates upped by 300% without notice and baliffs arriving. We have had 2 planning applications turned down and 1 appeal turned down. We have also had an enforcement notice served on us and raided by
But now after 2 and a half years of fighting and £30 grand down on legal fees, it looks like we have finally won the last planning appeal and by a large margin, as the council are withdrawing prosecution, which would
of been on the 6th December 2010, the same day as the planning appeal decision is announced.
So for once we look like the swingers have swung the tide of change and going legal.
Club Tease have also offered their help to any other clubs hassled by councils. (Contact MelonFarmers)
It's all over for a swingers' club which has finally closed down after a £20,000 two-year legal wrangle.
Owner Stewart Hobbs has given up his battle with council chiefs and on Friday closed the doors of Club Tease in Over.
The move came after he lost a planning appeal for the venue in Unit 16 on the Norman Way Industrial Estate.
The council had rejected two change-of-use applications, to create a private members' club with rooms for sexual activities .
Hobbs lost his appeal against the decision by South Cambridgeshire District Council planners, meaning he cannot legally operate. But he will go before Cambridge magistrates for breaking an enforcement notice after defying an order to close.
Enforcement officers and police raided the premises in August and served a closure order. But the venue continued to trade, attracting about 60 customers at weekends.
A deflated Hobbs told the News: I just cannot go on fighting any more. I have lost £20,000 in legal bills and another £80,000. Members of the club are mortified. We are all completely devastated and believe this has all come about
because of a lack of tolerance about what we do.
The reason they rejected the change of use was because they said there were too many cars coming to the club. That's total rubbish. It is an industrial estate on the edge of a village which has lorries coming in and out all the time. We have
about 20 cars coming on a busy night which is nothing.
I don't even know if I will go to court. I am having panic attacks. This has been a terrible ordeal and I have come to the end.