Why Hebden Bridge burlesque ban could not be lifted

Councillors and members of the public gather in Hebden Bridge Town Hall ahead of the meeting to discuss Hebden Royd Town Council's burlesque ban at Hebden Bridge Picture House. Picture by Jade Smith
Councillors and members of the public gather in Hebden Bridge Town Hall ahead of the meeting to discuss Hebden Royd Town Council's burlesque ban at Hebden Bridge Picture House. Picture by Jade Smith

A town council’s ban on burlesque at Hebden Bridge Picture House remains in place despite a lengthy and fiery meeting.

The full council of Hebden Royd met to discuss its picture house committee’s refusal to allow the Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival use of the historic cinema - owned by the town council- for a one-off performance.

Around 100 members of the public attended the meeting, which had to be moved to Hebden Bridge Town Hall’s Waterfront Hall because of the large turnout, and argued for and against the decision.

Liberal Democrat James Baker, who called for the removal of the committee’s chair Coun Susan Press, put forward a motion to allow “Equal Access To The Picture House”, which was rejected by the majority of councillors.

Coun Baker said: “I don’t want us to become one of those council’s that goes around banning things. We already have a system in place which governs what can and can’t be shown in a public building - the licensing system.”

Coun Susan Press put forward an alternative motion, which was carried, calling for a sub-committee to be set up to formulate a booking police. This would be made up of two Labour and two Lib Dem Councillors - none from the current Picture House Committee - the town clerk, a member of the Friends of the Picture House Group and the cinema’s manager.

Coun Baker called for the ban to rescinded, but because the Picture House Committee has delegated powers it was not possible.