Wapping scheme included replacement premises for 1,600-capacity E1 nightclub which would stay open until 7.30am
A mixed-use scheme has been rejected because of fears about rowdy behaviour spilling out from a kinky nightclub which formed part of the plans.
Tower Hamlets councillors said “disturbance and anti-social behaviour” outside the basement venue at the development in Wapping would cause serious harm to the living conditions and wellbeing of the scheme’s residents.
The planning application, for the erection of a part five and part eight story building at 60-70 & 100 The Highway and 110 Pennington Street, containing 114 homes with 44 affordable, was refused despite the planning officer’s recommendation to approve it.
Designed by Mountford Pigott for Big Yellow Group, it would have contained replacement premises for E1, a nightclub which has become a hub for LGBTQ+, kink and sex-positive events in recent years.
The 1,600-capacity venue, which was listed as the 45th best nightclub in the world by monthly magazine DJ Mag earlier this year, has hosted events with established promoters including Klub Verboten, Pxssy Palace and Torture Garden, according to a council report.
The report said the cultural significance of the venue was illustrated by a protest which took place outside Tower Hamlets town hall in July against a proposed “no-nudity” condition which had been applied to the venue. An application to the council’s licensing sub-committee received one written objection and 203 letters of support from the public, and the condition was removed.
Torture Garden describes itself as the world’s largest monthly fetish club and offers patrons a range of themed areas to explore including a sex dungeon, wrestling rings and ‘dogging’ areas with real cars.
It has a famously strict dress code, which bans all denim, t-shirts, leggings, suits and “cheap and cheesy fancy dress”.
Under the plans, the club would retain its licence allowing it to stay open from 6pm to 7.30am for the first year, after which it would be forced to close at 2am - although it would be allowed to apply for the all-night licence to be maintained.
But a motion proposed by councillor Amin Rahman and councillor Iqbal Hossain to refuse the application was backed unanimously by the planning committee, which was said to be dissatisfied that the future restriction of opening hours would mitigate against behaviour concerns.
Minutes from the meeting said the proposed opening times of the club would “result in members of the public queuing, arriving and leaving late into the night and early hours of the morning causing serious harm to the living conditions and wellbeing of the future residents of the proposed affordable housing through noise, disturbance and anti-social behaviour.”
The proposals also included a n 8,000sq m Big Yellow self-storage facility and 1,400sq m of flexible workspace.
The site is close to the grade I-listed St George in the East Church, the grade I-listed Tobacco Dock and the grade II-listed Pennington Street Warehouses.
Big Yellow Group has been contacted for comment.