Petitions call for action over Luton's 'sexy' posters

Petitions calling for Luton council to take action over prominent adverts for a gentleman’s club on hoardings in the town have already reached more than 600 signatures.

By Lynn Hughes
Tuesday, 5th July 2022, 5:35 pm

Petitions calling for Luton council to take action over prominent adverts for a gentleman’s club in the town have already reached more than 600 signatures.

The appeal comes after action was demanded over advertising hoardings for striptease and pole dancing at the After 8 Club on Upper George Street, which went up at two locations in New Bedford Road and Guildford Street.

Italian restaurant owner Francesco Basile of Basile’s on Guildford Street said the sign was damaging his business.

The original sign

Potests forced the posters to be altered – but a group that supports sex workers in the town has launched a petition demanding the council do more.

A spokesman for Azalea said: “In recent weeks a number of posters advertising a local strip club have appeared in locations around the town, and LAST (Luton Against Sex Trafficking) are working with the community to have them removed.”

A petition calling for the removal of the posters on change.org already has more than 660 signatures

Organisers of the change.org petition say: “We urgently need these removed. These posters are inappropriate due to the language used, the services being advertised and the locations they are placed in.

The new sign

“This is urgent because of the potential for at-risk young girls to see this and join the strip tease/gentlemen’s club. LAST want to make Luton a hostile place for sex trafficking and sexual violence to exist. How can we do this with such advertising placed around the town?”

A paper petition is also calling on the council to take action and review and change policy so that “no such advertising can be made.”

John French, who raised the issues with After 8’s original posters, said the changes did not go far enough.

"They are a blot on the landscape,” he said. “The council has spent hundreds of thousands of pounds to try to turn Luton into a city of culture. They need to get rid of these advertising hoardings and put a mural on the wall instead. It’s in the heart of the cultural quarter.

"Something has to be done with the whole of the town centre, everywhere you go there is an issue.”

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A spokesman for Luton Council said it agreed the signs were “a blot on our town” and “completely inappropriate” and had complained to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the billboard owners (Adnet).

The spokesman said: “Adnet have told us that the advertising on New Bedford Road and Church Street is due to be removed w/c 11 July.

“Unfortunately there is no direct action that the council can take as the billboards are private sites with planning consent and there is no breach in licensing or advertising regulations.

“While the club is a legitimate licensed business and does have a right to advertise, we believe there are more appropriate ways and means to reach its target audience without having them in such prominent locations where they will be seen by children.

“We would once again call upon the club and the site owners to rethink their advertising strategy given the impact it is having on the wider community.

A spokesman for Adnet Marketing said: “After 8 Club and Luton Borough Council are clients of ours so all parties are working together to remedy this situation.”

After 8 Club told the BBC: "We are also a local business and we all need any support we can get and we will be updating our poster accordingly as we all need to work together."