We won! City of London announces new hours at Artizan Street Library


After a well publicised local campaign, I am pleased to announce that the City of London has agreed to extend the hours at Artizan Street Community Library. This is fantastic news! In addition to extending the hours the City will also now be trialling a Saturday opening slot for six months.

From 14th May 2018 the new Library hours will be as follows:

Monday- 8am-7pm
Tuesday- 8am-5.30pm
Wednesday- 8am-5.30pm
Thursday- 8am-5.30pm
Friday- 8am-5.30pm
Saturday- 9am-1pm

This really is tremendous news for the local community and it will now mean that this wonderful resource is available for even more people to use on a daily basis. Please do spread the word and let people know about the new opening times to ensure as many people benefit from the new hours as possible. Once again this result demonstrates that when residents come together on local issues we can influence positive change in the community and get our voices heard.

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition and to the parents who came to the Guildhall last month to hand-in the petition. We couldn’t have got this result without all of your support.

Well done everyone!

Best regards

Jason Pritchard

Middlesex Street Resident and Common Councilman for the ward of Portsoken


Local Labour member Mannie Blankett receives honorary Labour membership


To honour a lifetime’s commitment to Labour, Portsoken Councillor Jason Pritchard presented local member and centenarian Emmanuel Blankett of Middlesex Street Estate with honorary membership today on behalf of the City of London Labour branch. Thank you Mannie for your support from everyone at the Labour Party.

Join our movement

Tempted to join the Party, but have a few questions first? Read on to discover what it means to be a Labour member.

The Labour Party is an 100+ year old political organisation built on equality, social justice and compassion. We are a movement of over half a million members working to elect a government that puts those shared values into action.

As a Labour member, you’ll help us form the next Labour Government and have a say in our policy. We’ll provide you with all the tools and resources to get involved in events, campaign days and rallies and introduce you to a network of other like-minded members. And if you want to one day, you can even stand for election as an official Labour Party candidate.

Am I eligible to join?

If you’re over 14, not a member of another political party, and are a British citizen or have lived in the UK for a year or more, then absolutely. Come on in.

How much does it cost?

As little as £3 a year. Most members pay our standard rate of £4.17 a month and many choose to pay more to support our campaigns.

Where is my money going?

We’re built on the contributions of our many dedicated members. Your membership fees pay for the posters, leaflets, rallies and events that you see up and down the country. Every penny is put to good use. Without our members’ contributions, we simply wouldn’t be able to run the Labour Party.

What happens after I join?

Keep an eye out for a membership pack in the post. Your membership card is in there –along with a whole host of useful information about what you can get involved in. As soon as that arrives, you’ll be a card-carrying member of the Labour Party.

By joining, you’ll also become a part of your local Labour Party, who will be in touch about ways you can get involved with loads of different campaigns and events near you. You can get involved in everything from policy making to campaigning to social events right away.

How to get involved with Labour

Middlesex Street massage parlour shut down after Labour petition sparks investigation

The petition was initiated by Portsoken common councillors Jason Pritchard and Munsur Ali, who said there were growing concerns over the proliferation of the massage parlour trade in and around Middlesex Street, which forms part of the City’s boundary with Tower Hamlets.


A Middlesex Street massage parlour investigated over claims it was offering sexual services has been shut down after the City Corporation won a claim to forfeit its lease last week.

Red Peony Ltd, which occupied a shop directly underneath the Middlesex Street Estate, was among six massage parlours inspected by Corporation officers earlier this year following a local petition demanding tougher regulations to stop the area from turning into “a red light district”.

The Mayor’s and City of London Court made an order for possession of the property at 77 Middlesex Street last Thursday in a hearing that lasted less than five minutes. Representatives for Red Peony Ltd did not appear, although Companies House has Chinese national Xiaoqin Song listed as director.

A spokesperson for Red Peony denied the closure was linked to the investigations.

“That might be true for other businesses in the area, but in our case the building did not have the license to carry out treatments so we had to close.”

A spokesperson for the City Corporation said: “Red Peony breached the terms of its commercial lease by providing massages on the premises.

“Providing any kind of massage services on the premises by the tenant was outside the scope of the uses permitted under the terms of the lease.”

Online forum ukpunting.com highlights two establishments at Nos. 66 and 77 Middlesex Street as offering “extra” services of a sexual nature in posts as recent as December 2016.

City licensing officers conducted widespread inspections of businesses operating in the area, and although a report published in August revealed no contraventions of the law, further investigations into Red Peony’s trading practices revealed a breach of license.

L to R: Portsoken Councillor Jason Pritchard, Jeremy Simons (Deputy Chairman) of Port Health & Environmental Services Committee, Portsoken Councillor Munsur Ali

The petition was initiated by Portsoken common councillors Jason Pritchard and Munsur Ali, who said there were growing concerns over the proliferation of the massage parlour trade in and around Middlesex Street, which forms part of the City’s boundary with Tower Hamlets.

Tower Hamlets also ramped up investigations, with a spokesperson confirming several cases had been referred for formal consideration for legal proceedings.

The owners of Relax Studio on Gunthorpe Street will plead their case before Tower Hamlets’ licensing committee this Thursday, despite multiple objections from officers whose investigations revealed “services of a sexual nature were being offered at the premises in return for money.”

Cllr Pritchard said he was pleased the City had acted “fairly swiftly” on the back of the petition.

“This demonstrates that when residents come together on local issues we can get a result.”

Source: City Matters

See also: https://portsokenlabour.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/labour-launches-petition-for-massage-parlour-investigation-in-both-city-and-tower-hamlets/




Beyond the Streets is a national charity working to build routes out of sexual exploitation for women. All funds raised from their guided tours support their Door of Hope project, which offers routes out of sexual exploitation for women in East London. To find out more visit:


Deadline extended for Middlesex Street Estate security survey


Following a fantastic response to our recent Middlesex Street Estate security survey we have decided to extend the deadline and to keep the survey open online until June 2017. If you haven’t taken the survey and you live on the Middlesex Street Estate please do take a moment to give us your feedback by clicking here: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/XXF5H26

Many thanks

Jason Pritchard and Munsur Ali

Common Councilman for Portsoken ward


Forthcoming Weekly Surgery dates

During our campaign, we promised to make ourselves available to help you with the day to day problems that arise. Below are the forthcoming dates for our weekly advice surgery.

→ Weekly surgery dates

Tuesday 16th May 2017

5.45pm – 6.45pm, The Green Box

Tuesday 23rd May 2017

5.45pm – 6.45pm, Artizan St Library

Tuesday 30th May 2017

5.45pm – 6.45pm, The Green Box

Tuesday 6th June 2017

 5.45pm – 6.45pm, Artizan St Library

You can also contact us using the contact form below:

Update on Massage Parlours

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A Committee report has now been published on the City of London website in response to the massage parlour petition handed in last week by Portsoken Councillors Jason Pritchard and Munsur Ali. The report entitled ‘Enforcement Action taken against non-compliant massage parlours and sex establishments’ has been prepared by the Director of Markets and Consumer Protection Peter Davenport and will now be considered by Port Health & Environmental Services Committee members at their meeting on the 9th May. To read the report in full please click below:

Public reports pack 09th-May-2017 13.45 Port Health Environmental Services Committee – Massage Parlours