“Pay at the Door” Sex Parties Stopped in Westminster

An appeal against an injunction by self-styled ‘Lord’ Edward Davenport to use his Mayfair home for commercial “parties”, “porn discos”, functions and film shoots has been dismissed by the court of appeal.  In relation to the phrase “porn disco” , the Law report stated that “the officers who attended the event confirmed the accuracy of the description.”   (The Law report in this instance does not define in what capacity the officers “attended”!)

Westminster Council first issued an enforcement notice in June 2006 following complaints that the property at 33 Portland Place was being used as a venue for commercial purposes.  (Reputed to be a 110 room, 5 storey house.)

Under planning legislation, the property which is in close proximity to other residential properties, should only be used for residential purposes.

Over 40 complaints have been made about excessive noise and other disruptions since 2006. During this time Mr. Davenport continued to hire out his home, despite numerous warnings from council officers.

The appeal court ruling by three senior judges – Lord Justice Pill, Lord Justice Hooper and Lord Justice Munby, said: “Planning permission for commercial use could have been sought …. that course was not followed.  I see no merit in the submission.  The permitted use of the property is clear and the claim to an injunction cannot now be defeated by an assertion that broader uses are permitted. “

Welcoming the decision, Rosemarie MacQueen, Westminster Council’s strategic director for the built environment, said: “Over the last five years our officers have repeatedly warned Mr. Davenport that by hiring out his home for these purposes he was in breach of planning permission, but he has flaunted these warnings at every opportunity. We therefore had no choice but to seek an injunction.

“He has shown total disregard for the lives of his neighbours who have suffered the excessive noise and disruption from dozens of parties, photo-shoots and filming.

“We have tried on many occasions to engage with Mr. Davenport, but our attempts to persuade him to comply with planning controls have been ignored – that is why we have resorted to pursuing this case through the courts.

“We are delighted with the court’s decision. It means nearby residents should now be able to go about their daily lives without being disturbed.”

26th April, 2011