Atherton protest over sex club

The Bolton News: Town centre protest over swingers' club Town centre protest over swingers' club

A CROWD of over 100 people gathered in Atherton to protest against plans for the opening of a swingers' club in the main street.

Wigan planners have already passed the application submitted by Sale-based Firas Bakir of Haybak Ltd for the private members club.

But locals, some of them residents in streets which flank both sides of Market Street, claim they were never told that plans for the former nightclub and restaurant premises involved turning it into a 'doggers' paradise'.

Applicant Mr Bakir assured planners that the club wouldn’t cause problems for residents and would be crime free.

The development committee heard that people attending the first floor club would be able to engage in sexual activity or watch others involved in such activity.

When the planning application was approved Wigan Council development control manager Graham Dickman told the development committee that the principle of a private members club under the planning laws was in general deemed an acceptable use within a town centre and the regulations did not encompass moral judgement.

This week Phil and Jane Walsh, who live near the piece in Stanley Street, joined protestors outside the first-floor premises access to which is gained down an alleyway beside a pharmacy.

Mr Walsh said: "Atherton is not the right place for this - it will attract undesirables and I doubt we have sufficient policing to cover potential problems.

Agreeing Mrs Walsh said: "It won't bring anything positive to Atherton, just hassle."

Mum of two Deborah Powell, who lives round the corner in Morley Street, said: "Last time there was a club here we had problems with drug dealers, people having sex in the backs and urinating on the street corner."

Former teacher Frances Raftery, of Car Bank Street, who helped organise the demonstration, was delighted with the level support.

She said: "In case oldies are unaware of the term 'swingers', it is the modern euphemism for a sex club where people can indulge in 'discreet activities of a sexual nature' which will no doubt attract dubious characters from miles around.

"Letters went out to local residents who, seeing the term 'private members club' thought it was merely for another nightclub.

"The planning application was not published in any newspaper as it was just for 'change of use'. We get the impression that Wigan have been trying to keep quiet on this?

"In 2010, plans by the same company for a similar club in Chorlton were thrown out by Manchester City Council."

Rob Walker from Wigan Road said: "I'm amazed that they want to turn sleepy Atherton into a doggers' paradise."

Among those taking part in the street protest were Delphine Martin who said: "Manchester turned it down, why should we have it?" and not elsewhere. Let's concentrate on bringing something good to Atherton."

Objector Mabel Jones said: "People can do anything they want in their own homes but we don't want this here" and Philip Ainscough's opinion was "Residents should have been properly consulted and there should have been a public meeting."

Val Houghton of Atherton Business Partnership said the next step would a licensing application for the club.

"Let's show the licensing people that we don't want this. We're now launching a petition," she said.

Comments (13)

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4:30pm Thu 5 Jul 12

billyash says...

Dogging is people meeting in car parks for sex! not at a club! Also why does having sex make you an undesirable? These clubs cost a lot to join and charge a fee on the night. I see the protest was by a group of frumpy old woman in the main. Just shows how ignorant and intolerant some folk are.
Dogging is people meeting in car parks for sex! not at a club! Also why does having sex make you an undesirable? These clubs cost a lot to join and charge a fee on the night. I see the protest was by a group of frumpy old woman in the main. Just shows how ignorant and intolerant some folk are. billyash
  • Score: 3

7:41pm Thu 5 Jul 12

wilderbeast1 says...

Plans to open a couples club in Chorlton appear to be doomed following a number of complaints from neighbours. The Reporter understands that senior planning officials have written to the applicant asking him to withdraw his proposals for a club catering for up to 300 members and featuring a hot tub, showers, bar and dance-floor. In his application, Firas Bakir said he believed the club would attract members from all over the country and would cater for a ‘specific interest group’. When contacted by our reporter, a spokesman for the applicant confirmed that he had been contacted by council officials asking him to withdraw the plans, but added that he had not yet decided whether to do so. John Leech, MP for Manchester Withington, said he had received an email from planning officials saying they ‘would delegate a refusal on multiple grounds’ if the plans were not withdrawn. Mr Leech said: "There are plenty of very strong grounds for refusal including the late licensing, potential for noise, lack of parking and disturbance to local people." A petition has been drawn up by neighbours and the council has confirmed it has received more than 90 objections. According to the application, the club would be open seven days a week, until 4am at weekends. The majority of members would be couples but ‘special nights’ would be put on for singles. Mr Bakir estimates that not more than 100 people would use the club at any one time. It would be housed in the former Furniture Exchange Showroom on Barlow Moor Road, opposite the junction with Beech Road. Melanie Phillips who lives behind the furniture shop on Norbreck Avenue said: "I am very pleased that the council is taking the wishes of residents seriously. We remain cautious." Chorlton Civic Society, which organised meetings to discuss how to fight the plans, has been urging people to write to the council with their complaints. Bernard Leach, of the society, said: "We have rarely come across anything that’s had such unanimous hostility". A council spokesman said: "We are still considering this application on its merits." A spokesperson for Mr Bakir, said: "He has not yet made a decision and will take the full time allocated to decide whether he will withdraw the plans, rather than have them refused.
Plans to open a couples club in Chorlton appear to be doomed following a number of complaints from neighbours. The Reporter understands that senior planning officials have written to the applicant asking him to withdraw his proposals for a club catering for up to 300 members and featuring a hot tub, showers, bar and dance-floor. In his application, Firas Bakir said he believed the club would attract members from all over the country and would cater for a ‘specific interest group’. When contacted by our reporter, a spokesman for the applicant confirmed that he had been contacted by council officials asking him to withdraw the plans, but added that he had not yet decided whether to do so. John Leech, MP for Manchester Withington, said he had received an email from planning officials saying they ‘would delegate a refusal on multiple grounds’ if the plans were not withdrawn. Mr Leech said: "There are plenty of very strong grounds for refusal including the late licensing, potential for noise, lack of parking and disturbance to local people." A petition has been drawn up by neighbours and the council has confirmed it has received more than 90 objections. According to the application, the club would be open seven days a week, until 4am at weekends. The majority of members would be couples but ‘special nights’ would be put on for singles. Mr Bakir estimates that not more than 100 people would use the club at any one time. It would be housed in the former Furniture Exchange Showroom on Barlow Moor Road, opposite the junction with Beech Road. Melanie Phillips who lives behind the furniture shop on Norbreck Avenue said: "I am very pleased that the council is taking the wishes of residents seriously. We remain cautious." Chorlton Civic Society, which organised meetings to discuss how to fight the plans, has been urging people to write to the council with their complaints. Bernard Leach, of the society, said: "We have rarely come across anything that’s had such unanimous hostility". A council spokesman said: "We are still considering this application on its merits." A spokesperson for Mr Bakir, said: "He has not yet made a decision and will take the full time allocated to decide whether he will withdraw the plans, rather than have them refused. wilderbeast1
  • Score: -1

3:59pm Fri 6 Jul 12

punterpride says...

you only have to look at the people objecting to understand why they don't like the idea of people having fun!
you only have to look at the people objecting to understand why they don't like the idea of people having fun! punterpride
  • Score: 4

11:52am Sat 7 Jul 12

bandit14 says...

the swingers club was approved by council member mr DICKMAN
the swingers club was approved by council member mr DICKMAN bandit14
  • Score: 2

10:55pm Sat 7 Jul 12

fisherman1959 says...

They are white in this photo is is only white people opposed to this ???
They are white in this photo is is only white people opposed to this ??? fisherman1959
  • Score: -2

11:14pm Sat 7 Jul 12

ablueroom says...

"Down with this sort of thing!"
"Down with this sort of thing!" ablueroom
  • Score: -1

12:18pm Sun 8 Jul 12

hoboh2o says...

Mum of two Deborah Powell, who lives round the corner in Morley Street, said: "Last time there was a club here we had problems with drug dealers, people having sex in the backs and urinating on the street corner."

I doubt very much dear you will have this unless you want to turn it into a nightclub for the young ones to booze and take drugs. I'd have you a bet that if this club had just opened apart from maybe a few extra cars around the area, you would not know it was there!
Dogging is an outdoor activity so wrong on that count, it is too easy to jump on a moral bandwaggon when you have not got a clue about what goes on and besides if there are no problems (which there won't be) you should keep your nose out or shall we object to the noise your kids make?
Mum of two Deborah Powell, who lives round the corner in Morley Street, said: "Last time there was a club here we had problems with drug dealers, people having sex in the backs and urinating on the street corner." I doubt very much dear you will have this unless you want to turn it into a nightclub for the young ones to booze and take drugs. I'd have you a bet that if this club had just opened apart from maybe a few extra cars around the area, you would not know it was there! Dogging is an outdoor activity so wrong on that count, it is too easy to jump on a moral bandwaggon when you have not got a clue about what goes on and besides if there are no problems (which there won't be) you should keep your nose out or shall we object to the noise your kids make? hoboh2o
  • Score: 1

4:10pm Sun 8 Jul 12

ablueroom says...

"Careful Now!"
"Careful Now!" ablueroom
  • Score: 0

7:10pm Sun 8 Jul 12

ablueroom says...

Can't help but notice the sign in the window - "Ready When You Are!" They must be fully stocked up with all you need for the swinging lifestyle :)
Can't help but notice the sign in the window - "Ready When You Are!" They must be fully stocked up with all you need for the swinging lifestyle :) ablueroom
  • Score: 0

9:58pm Sun 8 Jul 12

punterpride says...

looking at these elderly people protesting, i wonder if they are a bit jealous that this club will remind them of what they are unable to do!
looking at these elderly people protesting, i wonder if they are a bit jealous that this club will remind them of what they are unable to do! punterpride
  • Score: -1

2:50pm Mon 9 Jul 12

ablueroom says...

Of course, going off the published police crime rates for Atherton - one might think that its the swingers themselves who should be protesting and petitioning for the club to be opened elsewhere!
Of course, going off the published police crime rates for Atherton - one might think that its the swingers themselves who should be protesting and petitioning for the club to be opened elsewhere! ablueroom
  • Score: 0

7:50pm Wed 11 Jul 12

borin bi#*@s says...

i dont see what the problem is swingers are generaly quiet people that dont want any trouble when was he last time you heard of any trouble at a swingers club an since when is atherton a quiet sleepy town the protesters are are corsin more of a hastle than the people visiting these sort of places would get a life and let others have a life you wished you had
i dont see what the problem is swingers are generaly quiet people that dont want any trouble when was he last time you heard of any trouble at a swingers club an since when is atherton a quiet sleepy town the protesters are are corsin more of a hastle than the people visiting these sort of places would get a life and let others have a life you wished you had borin bi#*@s
  • Score: 0

10:42am Thu 12 Jul 12

AndySmullLadLadLad says...

Well - I for one am pretty excited about this new swinging club. In the past, we've had to travel miles to meet like minded people in a safe environment. BRAVO!
Well - I for one am pretty excited about this new swinging club. In the past, we've had to travel miles to meet like minded people in a safe environment. BRAVO! AndySmullLadLadLad
  • Score: 1

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