Well yesterday was a sad day, a judge decided that Oxford council could take the license away from the Lodge even though nothing had changed in the last year.
What this appears to be is a deliberate set up by the council to get rid of the lodge. The club had moved to a new location in 2011 to satisfy the council as they did not like where it was located. The club was placed in an under developed area called the Oxpens and the council was happy with this location.
In 2012 the license was refused even though the club had moved to satisfy the council. So it seems that someone brought up the issue of the local ice skating rink. Which was there when the council got the club to move! So did the club have trouble? No although there is a night club nearby which has had a lot of trouble with the police.
You would think a judge would look at this and go no change so no reason to close the club. BUT the judge for some reason believes the council is in the right, not sure why apart from he believed the club had moved to a council suggested location so obviously (to him) this implies that the club needs to close.
Now strangely the council has also recently shown plans for the redevelopment of Oxpens, which even if the Ice Rink hadn't of done for the club it would have been used in a year or two. So it seems the leader of the council had it set to close the club no matter what. Back in 2010 Mr Price said he did not want any clubs in Oxford. So he has set out to get his own way without any consultation or any discussions just imposing his will. Now will the council compensate the owner? Of course not, they may have stitched him up after using a church as an excuse in 2011 to move him and a ice rink in 2012 to close him.
Clubs beware councils may see this work and go all out at closing venues using any excuse they can find.
Also there is the issue of the fact that the dream boys are appearing in Oxford soon, now I have no objections to women enjoying the same rights and pleasures as men and even that they can take things much further than any club can. However does appear the council not only will put a knife in the back of the club owner but that they are two faced.
So to the dancers and staff of the Lodge I really feel for you, that a council can set an agenda and take people's livelihoods away absolutely stinks.
And finally I am not sure that this ends here, the whole issue revolves around article 1 of protocol 1 which as it use this as my mantra everyone knows that people are entitled to enjoy their possessions. Now a license that needs to be renewed each year is still a possession and I believe if the council forces the club to close under these circumstances then at least compensation should be paid. And to all the clubs reading this you need to decide if you want this precedent to stand. It could affect all clubs in the future so better to beat it now than let it take other clubs. Talk to your legal people, get advice and if you can then please support the Lodge as one day that could be you.