London

Sex parties banned at mansion in central London

A man has been banned from holding events including pole-dancing classes and a sex party at his 18th Century mansion in central London.

There were "persistent and flagrant" breaches of planning rules at Edward Davenport's house on Portland Place, Westminster Council claimed.

It said a "porn disco", film shoots and a masquerade ball were also held when no commercial activity was allowed.

The High Court has granted an order prohibiting such events.

The council took legal action against Mr Davenport because it felt his neighbours were being disturbed to an "unacceptable degree".

'Good for circulation'

It won a temporary injunction in January and said the building - a former High Commission of Gambia and Sierra Leone - had been used for commercial purposes for several years.

Tickets costing £10 each were advertised online for the "porn disco" while pole-dancing classes were said to be "good for the circulation", the court heard.

In April the council was told the house had been used for a sex party, with guests charged £90.

Mr Davenport insisted the building had regularly staged social events throughout its existence and said nothing he had organised had breached planning rules.

'Blighted' area

"It is not feasible to suggest that these activities are profitable or of a commercial nature," he said.

"These activities cause no noise disturbance or have any impact on the neighbourhood."

The judge, Mr Justice Eady, said there was nothing wrong with Mr Davenport hiring out parts of the building to fund his annual maintenance costs of £250,000, as long as he applied for planning permission to reflect a change of use.

"The council has a duty to enforce planning control and there seems to be no alternative way of achieving this effectively without the grant of an injunction," he said.

Westminster's strategic director for built environment, Rosemarie MacQueen, said the injunction would ensure Mr Davenport's neighbours could "finally enjoy their home in some degree of peace, without being disturbed at all hours by the large-scale parties which have blighted the local area."

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