The future of fetish nights in Manchester’s gay village is under threat, following a row over the legality of consensual sex in dark rooms.
Police have visited several venues in the area around Canal Street and informed owners that they believe that they are not complying with the law by allowing men to have consensual sex on the premises.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Adrian Perrett who runs fetish night Club Alert!, said he believed it was part of a plan to gentrify the gay village.
“From the top down there is a plan to drive out the seedier side of things and make the village a Disneyland pastiche of what it was,” he said.
“The important point is these are private members’ clubs. My understanding of the legal situation is a private members’ club can operate and have sex…
“If you don’t have those darkrooms in the Village, that will push people to go to chemsex parties and there’s a huge issue around that.”
Owner of the nearby Eagle bar Andrew Underwood says that he has been visited eight times by the police in the last six months,
“It’s been a heavy-handed approach,” he said. “They’re coming in to look for something we don’t think is illegal.
“You’ve got straight swinger’s clubs, they’re not looking into them, we can’t quite understand their take on it when it’s been fine up until now.”
The clubs have been won the support of Manchester’s councillors for the area, Jon-Connor Lyons, Sam Wheeler and Adele Douglas, who said: “At a time of austerity, council staff and GMP should be concentrating on those areas that our residents care about, such as commercial waste and street crime, not what consenting adults do in a members-only setting.”