Police called to controversial Edinburgh swinger's club following disturbance

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The adult club continued to operate despite the council demanding the premises close months earlier

Concerns have been raised over an ‘illegal’ Edinburgh swingers’ club being run out of an industrial estate, after police attended an incident where a couple claim they were assaulted.

After Dark in Sighthill opened in 2022 as “Scotland’s premier swingers and kink lifestyle club” without obtaining planning permission, which was later refused after an application to use the unit as a private adult club was submitted.

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After Dark opened in Bankhead Industrial Estate in Edinburgh October 2022After Dark opened in Bankhead Industrial Estate in Edinburgh October 2022
After Dark opened in Bankhead Industrial Estate in Edinburgh October 2022 | LDRS

Despite the council issuing an enforcement notice ordering it to close last year it is understood swingers’ parties and events are continuing – with police called out to a “disturbance” during one held last month.

A man who said he attended a ‘lingerie night’ at After Dark with his wife in March contacted the Local Democracy Reporting Service and alleged he was assaulted during their visit after being repeatedly pressured to take their clothes off.

He claimed they were “having a bicker” with a member of staff after being asked to leave and then somebody “came out of nowhere and floored me”.

He said: “I didn’t even see it coming, it was a surprise attack. I didn’t get the chance to fight back . . . the police attended, there was quite a few of them.”

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He added: “They’ve not got planning – they shouldn’t even be operating.”

The couple also alleged an unlicenced bar was being operated which attendees could purchase drink tokens for.

Police confirmed they were called to the address “following a report of a disturbance” in the early hours of Sunday, March 10, but said it was not in relation to an assault.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “A man and woman were issued recorded police warnings in connection with the matter.”

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Edinburgh Council planning convener James Dalgleish warned owners they would be “committing a criminal offence by continuing to use it as a private adult club”. 

However the premises’ landlord has argued it “is not operating illegally” as a new planning application “for a different use” was yet to be determined. 

Graham Ludar-Smith said as the owner he didn’t have any “direct involvement” in the operation of the club, while claiming he had not been contacted by the council in relation to the matter. 

 Cllr Dalgleish said: “The premises is subject to an enforcement notice and they would be committing a criminal offence by continuing to use it as a private adult club.

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“This matter is the subject of an ongoing investigation and so we can’t say any more at this time.”

After relocating from Spittal Street in the Old Town and undergoing a name change from ‘After 8’ After Dark opened in Bankhead Industrial Estate in October 2022.

This came despite the unit only having planning consent for use as as administration office – previously occupied by Napier University – which was subdivided to create “playrooms, kink and BDSM areas”.

Mr Ludar-Smith appealed the enforcement notice after it was served last November. A statement submitted on his behalf said the club “not only promises to be a valuable addition to Edinburgh’s social landscape but also brings tangible benefits to the local community and economy”.

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He complained that “moral judgements potentially related to the development’s nature or religious objections” had “unduly influenced” the council’s decision to refuse planning permission.

But in January a Scottish Government reporter upheld the notice and said: “The description of the activities within the building, hours of operation, photographs of the interior, and floor plans showing layout lead me to conclude that, on the balance of probability, a material change of use of the building to a sui generis use has occurred.”

After Dark has been contacted for comment.

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