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.

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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.

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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/

https://portsokenlabour.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/councillor-pritchard-delivers-on-massage-petition/

https://portsokenlabour.wordpress.com/2017/04/30/update-on-massage-parlours/

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

Middlesex Street petition handed in at the Guildhall on behalf of residents

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

On Monday 24th March, Cllr Jason Pritchard and Cllr Munsur Ali met with the Deputy Chairman of Port Health & Environmental Services Committee, Jeremy Simons at the Guildhall to hand in a copy of a petition on behalf over 100 residents from Portsoken ward.

The petition which was also delivered to Tower Hamlets Environmental Health and Trading Standards Officer David Tolley and LBTH Deputy Mayor Shiria Khatun calls on City of London and London Borough of Tower Hamlets to investigate all massage parlours and sex establishments in the vicinity of the Middlesex Street Estate to ensure:

  1. compliance with their licencing and all other statutory requirements
  2. public order offences are being logged and acted on appropriately
  3. that if any such premises are operating without a licence that enforcement action is taken promptly

Deputy Chairman Jeremy Simons said that a short report will now be sent to the Port Health & Environmental Services Committee for consideration at their meeting on the 9th May.

See also: https://portsokenlabour.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/councillor-pritchard-delivers-on-massage-petition/