Hoxton Hall on Council Hitlist

More news is coming out about the Council’s proposed Hitlist for Hackney – the list of facilities due to be sold off or have their funding slashed as part of the Council’s cost-cutting measures. We will print the full list in the next week , but already the Hackney Gazette has run a story on some of the targeted sites and services. Among those at risk are the Apples and Pears play area on Pearson Street, and Hoxton Hall – more details below:

HACKNEY COUNCIL have finally made decisions about the funding of groups like Hoxton Hall and they have proposed a cut of £16,065 to our grant for the current year. In a full year it would amount to £32,130.

They have said they will not provide funding for our Lifelong Learning programme – the classes and courses which 500 people a week attend. The Council has serious financial problems, but centres like Hoxton Hall are valuable resources for the borough, providing creative activities and services for all. The Council’s short-term financial solution will cause long term damage. Once lost, centres like Hoxton Hall cannot be replaced. This decision is to be ratified at a Council Regeneration Committee meeting at 7.30pm on Thursday 13th September.

Developments for Keyworkers?

Who are keyworkers? The Hoxton Square development “in London’s most talked about arts and media village” advertises this week in the Hackney Gazette with one and two bedroom apartments priced from £239,950. Some of the development is supposed to be available to keyworkers in the borough on a shared ownership basis, but what local person is going to be able to afford even a 30 or 40 % share in a flat at that price?
The definition of keyworkers is a fairly narrow one too – teachers, nurses and police – is it really likely that a nurse or teacher would be able to afford to live there, let alone someone on a lower wage who drives a bus, cleans the streets or works as a classroom assistant?

As with many of the new developments in Hackney, they are not designed for the working class majority who are being priced out of the area, but for the trendy rich who can afford such ridiculous prices and are attracted to the “arts and media village” that developers want Hoxton to become.

Another Strip Club Planned For Shoreditch?

It is rumoured that Spearmint Rhino, the American lap dance chain that have recently opened big clubs on Tottenham Court Road and in Harrow, have bought DK’s bar in Curtain Road. They won’t be planning to open up another trendy bar for the rich young artists, they will be looking to open up as a strip club.
We’ve already got thirteen strip bars in or within five minutes walk of this area. Nowhere else in London has this concentration. The Spearmint Rhino proposal would be for a huge club which is going to attract even more people. As well as attracting more men, it would attract prostitutes and muggers to the area.

As of today, Hackney Council’s entertainment licensing section have only received an application for music and dancing. There has been no application for the licence needed for a lap-dancing club.

Hackney Independent is already on record as saying that “we will oppose any new strip bars coming, and will look to oppose the licenses of the existing ones being renewed in future.” (Spring 2001 newsletter). We do not oppose them on moral grounds. Our opposition is based on the fact that these bars attract mainly City workers who come out drunk and looking for prostitutes. A number of local women have been hassled by these City workers.

The Tottenham Court Road branch of Spearmint Rhino has been in constant breach of its licensing terms. A police report has even stated that “activity in the club … borders on offences of prostitution … and managing/assisting/permitting the keeping of a brothel.”

The police go on to say that at a meeting with table dancers employed by the club, “a point was made by one of the dancers that there was a concern over the number of dancers employed and that this was leading the girls to consider offering other services to make up their money.” An Evening Standard report on this story 27th July 2001 was headlined “Strip Club Faces ‘Brothel’ Probe.”

There will be those in favour of this scheme – from Hackney Council’s promotion of the “night-time economy” to people like Lib Dem Councillor Adrian Gee-Turner who recently supported the filming of a hard core porn film in the ward that he is meant to represent. But there will be widespread opposition to this scheme as well and Hackney Independent will play its part in building that opposition.