Neighbours’ revolt as lesbian members’ club applies to open in Holloway Road

The fomer People's Club premises in Holloway Road. Picture: Ken Mears

The fomer People's Club premises in Holloway Road. Picture: Ken Mears - Credit: Archant

Scars of the past have yet to heal for neighbours of a controversial former Holloway Road nightclub. After seeing off the People’s Club for good last year, they are now protesting after Islington Council received a new application for a lesbian social club in the same premises.

The People’s Club was shut in 2015 after run-ins with the police.

And last year, Agnes Hassan, wife of the club’s former owner Bulent Hassan, failed in her bid rebrand the club as a “coffee shop and cocktail bar”. Neighbours claimed public nuisance in the streets – including noise, fighting, sex, drug taking and urinating – would return.

Now the owners of Titania, a club for lesbian women, want to take over after being forced to shut their Soho premises when the lease expired.

But the application, which would see the members-only club open until 2am at the weekends, has been met with 26 objections.

It includes one objection from the Furlong Road Residents’ Association, which was instrumental in seeing off the People’s Club last year.

Chair Nicky Stewart said: “We are being asked here to simply waive our bad experiences of the past, to accept late hours and to put our trust in new operators in the borough who do not appear to have an operational track record of managing a club elsewhere with such extensive hours.

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“Their previous incarnation, Titania Soho, operated under standard pub hours with a midnight close at weekends.”

But in a letter to the council, Gareth Hughes of Keystone Law, assured: “Mr Hassan’s operation was the source of terrible suffering for the local residents [and] has now completely left the scene.

“Odette Gibson is a qualified accountant with her own practice and several years’ experience in the licensing trade. She and her son have successfully run the premises known as Titania Soho, with a capacity of about 150 (same as Holloway Road) without any issues arising from police and the local council.

“This will clearly be a very different style of operation from the previous one which caused all sorts of problems to the local residents.

“Experience shows that social clubs of this nature cause very little, if any, problems to the local community and because of the membership nature they are virtually self-policing as members do not wish to be barred on the basis that they have caused trouble.”

Council officers have objected to the application, saying operating hours should be reduced. A decision will be made at a town hall licensing sub- committee meeting next week.