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 Update: Land Grab...

Closure orders for sex workers' flats being approved regardless of the evidence


Link Here 24th December 2013  full story: Sex Sells in Soho...But the authorities aren't so keen
prostitutes collective A Closure Order against a flat in Tisbury Court, Soho, was thrown out of court this morning. District Judge Barrie found that insufficient steps had been taken to contact the owner of the premises.

This decision is in contrast to the rulings of District Judge Susan Williams who presided over approximately ten other closure order cases against Soho flats over the last two weeks. She seemed determined to approve the closures regardless of the evidence or lack of it.

The Closure Orders came about from police raids on premises on 4 December when over 200 officers broke down doors, put women out on the street and boarded up the flats. All the other flats remain closed.

Cari Mitchell from the English Collective of Prostitutes commented:

We were in court to witness every case where sex workers gave evidence about their situation. We saw that Judge Williams was strikingly biased in favour of the police. She disregarded evidence from sex workers who bravely came forward to explain that they worked independently and were not being controlled. We are encouraged by this victory and we strongly urge women whose flats have been closed to appeal. To deprive mothers and grandmothers of their livelihood, particularly at Christmas, is cruel and sadistic. Haven't the police got better things to do to protect women and girls from rape and sexual assault than to target women working consensually?

Actor Rupert Everett, who was in court for two of the cases, described the closure orders as a land grab . This is in reference to local concerns that the closures of sex workers' flats aim to evict the original population of Soho to gentrify this historic area. Last week, a decision approving Soho Estates' massive Walkers Court development was waved through by Westminster Council planning committee despite many objections, including from the Soho Society which represents most of the residents and businesses and from English Heritage.

 

 Update: Preserving Icons...

Councillors call for Madame JoJos to be saved


Link Here 5th December 2014  full story: Sex Sells in Soho...But the authorities aren't so keen
madame jpjps logo A new push to save one of London's most famous nightclubs, Madame Jojo's, from closure was made on Thursday when Westminster's Labour councillors called for new management to be allowed to take over the Soho venue.

The council revoked its licence last month following an incident outside the club in October when its bouncers allegedly attacked a customer with baseball bats. The manager and security staff were replaced with workers approved by Westminster, but the council still decided to withdraw the licence.

Councillor Paul Dimoldenberg, leader of the council's Labour group, described the incident in which the customer was attacked as appalling but said that should not be used to justify the remorseless process of Soho gentrification . He said:

Madame Jojo's is a Soho icon and these premises should not be turned into yet another chain restaurant. We support the reopening of the premises under the same licensing terms should another responsible owner wish to take over.

Westminster council should not let Madame Jojo's die, but should do all it can to keep this unique Soho venue living on under new management.

The calls to save the club may fall on deaf ears given that almost a year ago the council approved plans submitted by Soho Estates , the company founded by Raymond, to redevelop the buildings around Walker's Court and Brewer Street in the next few years.