Licensing Committee to review Piano Lounge

The Piano Lounge, the Twickenham bar that gets both its punters and those who oppose it, hot under the collar has applied for a licence as a “sex entertainment venue”. A flyer distributed to local homes and the twickerati HQ states that owner has applied for a licence along with two new applicants (who may be buying into or taking over the club). You may recall that the current owner’s existing licence was suspended earlier in the year after breaches to the conditions. A new licence as a “sex entertainment venue” has been applied for and will now be considered by El Brute’s licensing committee. If you have an opinion on this and want to comment, then you’ll need to email or write to the committee by Wednesday 21st December.

There can’t be many people who want such an establishment near their home but these types of venues are always going to exist, whether it’s legally or otherwise. Is it just nimbyism to object to any kind of licence being granted? Or are there genuinely better locations in the Borough for this kind of thing? Somewhere in the centre of Richmond perhaps? Or maybe an out of town location with a large car park? Either way, it doesn’t seem to be the kind of place you’d expect to see on Twickenham’s Cross Deep. “Poles apart” you might say.

DETAILS
To comment to the committee:
Email: licensing@richmond.gov.uk
Or write to: The Head of Licensing
2nd floor, Civic Centre
44 York St, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ
by Wednesday 21 December.

26 Comments

Filed under Council, Local Issues & News

26 responses to “Licensing Committee to review Piano Lounge

  1. Gawain

    Decided to answer my own question by calling Licensing. The application was REFUSED – excellent news. The premises licence remains but the sexual entertainment element that the applicant had proposed will not be permitted.

    And for the ‘where’s the harm’ brigade (yes, Simon, I mean you), the original and supplementary objections from the police and a huge host of neighbours’s objections, some including very unpleasant experiences, are all available on the Council site via the relevant agenda item.

    Let them go to Soho.

  2. Gawain

    Does anyone know what was decided at Monday’s meeting?

  3. Simon H

    I shall be there, resplendent in thong and tassels.

  4. Gawain

    The Council write: “The Licensing Authority on 24th November 2011 received an application for a Sexual Entertainment Licence for
    Playhouse Gentlemen’s Club (currently Piano Lounge) 57 King Street Parade Twickenham

    The Licensing Authority gives notice that representations will be considered at a Licensing Hearing to be held at 19:00 on the 23rd January 2012 at the Council Chamber, York House, Twickenham, when the application will be determined.”

    Hopefully local residents – and maybe our own Simon H – will go and express their views.

  5. Simon H

    And what’s wrong with being massaged by a Thai? At least that takes the whole “local girls” issue out of the equation.

  6. Gawain

    Ah yes, the ‘strict rules’ at the Piano Bar….this excerpt below is from the R&TT of 25.3.11
    Perhaps the bar’s defenders could particularly explain how the “Thai massages” fit in with their world-view of suitable activities in central Twick.

    “The owner of a strip club said he had “learned his lesson” after being fined thousands of pounds for breaching his licence. Walter Angliss, of Shelburne Drive, Whitton, was fined £5,765 when he appeared at Richmond Magistrates’ Court last Thursday. He pleaded guilty to breaking seven conditions of his licence following a police sting in September. Undercover officers saw dancers in physical contact with customers and each other, and noted they did not remain standing during their performances, as required. Thai massages were also being offered despite Angliss not having the necessary license.”

  7. Angelina Jolly

    Simon Says ”It’s an area of London near a massive rugby stadium, with a high street that is in no position to get too sniffy about the sort of clubs it has”

    It’s the slow crawling creep, though isn’t it? One’s ok but what about 3 or 4 sex clubs in Twickenham? And why not, it’s not the Cotswolds! Have you not seen IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE? And like Mr Potter in the film, the sex-clubs and gaming houses are all run by a dodgy ol geezer. And that’s often the reality too. Is that what we want in Twickenham?

    Soho used to have loads of sex clubs too, it has hardly any obvious ones now cos the local council realised it was out of touch, sleezy, off-putting to most people other than men in raincoats. So they scrapped most of them and lo, new business moved in so did a hole load of more new punters. Soho is a happening place now, it looks much nicer and I’d take my Grandma there for lunch, whereas I wouldn’t have done 10 years ago.

    • Simon H

      “A hole load of new punters”. In the context of a debate about sex clubs, I can only hope you meant “whole load”.

  8. Simon H

    Ha, no I’m not Alan Wotsit of that music mag. He does have mad grey hair. Seriously, it’s very difficult to understand what some people’s objection to a strip club is. I didn’t know you could log in to the Internet from 1952.

  9. Hmmm that means you either have mad grey hair and edit a leading Music title (also on my floor) and live in Twick or you are simply in publishing!

    Either way we share the same views, some may not like the Piano bar but it aint that bad.

    If I may be crude I have the “would I sleep in the door way rule” and if I am honest the Piano Bar is proabbly one of the only doorways I would sleep in if need be, I have given up counting the amount of doorways that are covered in rubbish, excrement, puke etc. In fact I walked down the high street two sats ago only to be greeted with the largest amount of puke I have even known, I thought a Bison may have come alive from Laverstoke but alas simply some chap from the local boozer…at least the Piano has bouncers and strict rules…

  10. Simon H

    Sounds like you and I are in a similar line of work.

  11. Ahh not wishing to muddy the waters Simon and this is for the record again, again…..my desk is approx 15 feet from that of the Nuts editorial team! and yes some shockers do enter the office to find their slice of fame…

    Sorry for the fred drift…and I agree with everything you say, you have summed up Twickenham 2011/12 to a tee..

  12. Simon H

    Quite, ricky, which was my point. I’ve never been to the Piano Bar, but it serves a certain purpose and there’s nothing wrong with that. The woman who work there do no more than the average model in Nuts magazine. As for other’s arguments that Twickenham is not sort of place that should have a strip club, I’m afraid it’s not a small town in the Cotswolds. It’s an area of London near a massive rugby stadium, with a high street that is in no position to get too sniffy about the sort of clubs it has. Young girls are made to feel uncomfortable in many different places by drunk older men, particularly crowded pubs, but we can’t close them just because of that.

    Why am I confused, Anonymous? If shops or restaurants are not sustainable, why not replace them with flats in a city where there is still a housing shortage?
    And, yes, my comment about good bone structure was a joke—very obviously.

  13. Erm I dont think the Piano Bar is the greatest cause for concern, there are a fair few boozers that line up as trouble areas way before “The Home of British Rugby” (which was the sign it once had on it…)
    I am afraid I don’t walk the High Street proper at night in fact I don’t like walking the Green at night through fear of getting high (on the fumes) or running into a 14 year old (mostly girls..) with a can of Stella….And for the record I am 37, and for the record again…I have never been to the Piano Bar!

  14. Copthall resident

    Simon H, I’m mother to two “local girls” and they and their friends call the “Piano Bar” the “Sex Maniac’s dive” not least because of having had to put up with sexual harassment from prats falling out of the place. They have nothing but contempt for the place and it’s customers. It would be quite nice if our “local girls” could feel part of a community in Twickenham but what with proposing schools they won’t be able to go to and making the High Street a place they don’t feel comfortable in that is obviously not a priority….

    King Street / Heath Road is a suburban High Street and all members of the community should be able to feel safe and secure, not as if they are braving a seedy street in Soho. The place for such establishments should be just that, a place that is just for such establishments.

    • Anonymous

      Well said Copthall resident. Simon H obviously is a little confused. Flats for shops, worried about too many restaurants but a seedy dive is ok. And his comment about local girls I hope is in jest, but rather tasteless.

  15. Angelina Jolly

    My F-I-L is a big rugby fan debenture n all that. He comes with a group of mates regularly to games, but they never venture into town to part with their cash (and they’ve plenty of it), they bring food and stay in the carpark instead! I asked him why and he said Twickenham centre was uninviting “esp with it’s dodgy pole-dancing club”. He remained unconvinced even tho he got to know the allure of Church St. I’m inclined to agree with him. Businesses like Poundland, the many charity shops, Iceland and the Piano Bar all help to make our town appear to be a low grade high st to the uninitiated. So yes id veto a new sex licence for Twickenham, because surely what Twickenham needs are less dodgy looking and off-putting joints – attracting who exactly to the area – guys looking for steak cos they’ve got burger at home (/other way round)? Id like a better looking high st with more independent traders, which attract more people to spend cash in our neighnourhood and boost the local economy. Attracting more businesses that pay proper rental rates instead of landlords forced to pay charities to occupy instead of paying the higher empty occupancy rates to the council. Personally id have more Sandys Laverstokes and Langtons anyday, which is not going to happen as long as we think of the smaller picture and ok this licence.

    • Simon H

      We’d all like a high street like that (well, most of us). But I’m afraid high streets up and down the land are slowly dying and, by comparison with other areas, Twickenham isn’t too bad. I’d rather have the Piano Bar and Poundland (or “Bits and Bobs” as they must be collectively known) than nothing.

      Converting shops into flats is the answer (and keeping a smaller, but well-used number of other shops). I’m not anti the Solum development, but what is aggravating is that it’s going to bring more shops and restaurants with it, which certainly won’t help the existing town centre shops.

    • Antisnob

      The ongoing success of Poundland and Iceland seems to disagree with you that these are wanted or otherwise.

      Feel free to open up a store in Twickenham, though unless it’s seriously niche with a captive market I can’t say I rate your chances though with Kingston in one direction and Richmond in another.

      What we have is the High Street we deserve, Money Shop and tons of bars and all, and a fitting tribute to a town dying a slow death as a living museum whose only signs of a pulse are life support from rugby.

      We are in London. You can use an Oyster card and everything here! The quicker people accept that they live in a suburb of the largest city in Europe, not a village somewhere in the Cotswolds the quicker the opposition to the substantial redevelopment needed can disappear and the quicker the town can attract the investment that will breathe life into it again.

  16. twickerman

    I’ve been reliably informed that the ‘change of ownership’ is so that the previous owner’s less than exemplary track record cannot be considered by the Licensing Committee.
    I don’t think this sort of venue, that has broken the law in a number of ways, should be allowed in anybody’s back yard (or passage!).

  17. It was very busy on Friday? full of Twickenham’s finest….

    We need places like this after all it was the home of British Rugby…..

  18. Simon H

    Yes, it is pure NIMBYISM to object to the Piano Lounge. Frankly, I’m very disappointed in you for posting this story, Mr Twickerati. Unexpectedly dim.

    • Apologies. We will try to avoid covering stories of interest to the local community in the future.

    • Simon H

      It may be of local interest, but your stance is clearly in favour of the club being closed down. To be replaced by what? Another empty restaurant, maybe? What, exactly, is wrong with a strip club? You don’t have to go there. And, if it provides work for local girls with good bone structure and slim calves, then so much the better.