The Brentwood Gazette has won a campaign to prevent a sex shop opening in the town. An application for the shop in a busy area used by children has been withdrawn after opposition orchestrated by the paper. This included organising a protest petition and individual objections.
The paper printed a form on which residents could object and even provided a “post box” in its front office where they could be left. Now, after considering several hundred objections, Bright Light Leisure, which runs a chain of sex shops in London and East Anglia, has backed down.
The Gazette’s campaign was praised by local MP Eric Pickles. He said: “Full credit to the Gazette for leading an important campaign which was more about what Brentwood might become than just the future of one shop unit.”
Editor Roger Watkins denied the campaign was nimbyism. He said the Gazette acknowledged there was a demand for sex shops but pointed out neighbouring towns had them and Soho was only a short train ride away.
This week the Gazette’s comment column said of the campaign victory: “â€¦it is a triumph for a vigorous, free press perceptive and competent enough to articulate the feelings of its readers and willing to fight hard for the community it serves.”
Watkins added: “On this occasion the sex shop bosses have made their excuses and left but we are well aware they could be back. We shall be waiting.”
By Jon Slattery