Q: I’ve just found out that our new next door neighbours run a swingers’ club. I’m worried about my children and the effect on the value of my house. What can I do?
A: It all depends on how the club is run. If your neighbours just run it from home and all the activities are elsewhere, there is nothing you can do. The good thing is that no one apart from the members will know what is going on and your children and house value will be unaffected.
If there are activities next door then the position is more serious and there are potential remedies. If the activities are open and offensive, such as in a garden open to view, then they may amount to criminal offences and you can ask the police to take action. If however, club activities are taking place at the house, but discreetly, then it is not a police matter.
You have said that the neighbours are running the club. If money is being charged, by way of subscriptions or otherwise, then this will almost certainly be a business. If the house is an ordinary domestic one, then the planning use will almost certainly be that of a private dwelling. A club run for private gain is a business and needs planning permission. This is highly unlikely to be granted for a club in a residential area which is likely to have detrimental effect on neighbours. Consult your local council planning enforcement department and seek their advice. Be careful not to monitor activities next door unless the council ask you to do so, in order to avoid accusations of being a peeping Tom. The likelihood is that once your neighbours and their members realise that that their activities are being watched, they will stop.