IT IS a battle they had been fighting for months.
When a swingers’ club opened in the heart of a Southampton community at the end of September, residents pulled together in a show of defiance against the venue.
More than 1,000 homeowners in Woolston signed a petition against Club Kiss, which opened without planning permission from council chiefs.
But now residents can finally celebrate victory in their long-running campaign, after the man behind the “kinky” hotel, Martin Millar, moved the last of his equipment out of Milton House, in St Anne’s Road, yesterday.
Mr Millar has vowed to continue running his popular swingers’ parties – in Spain and Mexico.
As previously reported by the Daily Echo, council chiefs slapped a stop notice on the venue, preventing it from trading past December 2 last year.
Mr Millar had pledged to refer the decision to the planning inspectorate in Bristol, in a bid to re-open the venue.
But he told the Daily Echo: “I decided not to appeal against the council decision to close Club Kiss due to other business interests that I am now pursuing. I am now focusing on running swingers’ holidays in Spain from April and potentially Mexico later on in the year, as there is no money in running the business in Southampton anymore.
“I believe the owner of Milton House is now seeking planning permission to turn the building into flats, and if that is granted my lease on the building will be terminated.”
Ward councillor Warwick Payne, who is also the council’s housing and leisure boss, confirmed that a planning application had been submitted by Milton House owner, Pete Harding, to build two new apartments on vacant land next door to the site.
But he said that no application had been received to turn the former NHS rehabilitation centre into flats.
Cllr Payne added: “This is a great day for Woolston and it shows that the community will come together to fight against something that isn’t in the interests of the neighbourhood.
“Clearly this is a victory for the residents’ campaign to close Club Kiss, which opened without any permission from the council or consultation with residents. A quiet suburban family residential area was never the right location for a sex-based operation and it has been one of the most controversial issues I’ve dealt with during my time as a councillor.
“There will be a mixture of jubilation and relief for residents.
“We didn’t know how long the battle was going to last, but the residents were determined to see it through until the end and it looks like we have now reached that point.