Call for ‘buffer’ between brothels and homes

Christchurch Press 27 July 2012
Christchurch residents have called for a “buffer zone” to be established between large-scale brothels and residential areas.

A Christchurch City Council hearings panel is listening to 20 submissions on the council’s proposed bylaw to restrict the areas where brothels are allowed to operate.

Under the bylaw, most brothels would be required to be located within certain commercial areas and away from schools and designated “important open spaces”, such as Cathedral Square and the Avon River.

Existing large brothels and small owner-operated brothels would be exempt.

The proposed bylaw attracted nearly 200 submissions from residents and organisations, with 20 planning to speak at the panel hearing today.

The location of brothels in the city had not been subject to any bylaw controls since July 2005, when part of a 2004 council bylaw was quashed by the High Court.

However, the post-earthquake closure of the central city, which forced many brothels to move to the suburbs, has raised community concerns about where they are allowed to operate.


Lindsay Carswell, speaking on behalf of residents at a Stanmore Rd complex, said a brothel established in one of the units had caused huge disruption for families in the complex.

He asked for the council to prohibit brothels from being operated in units like theirs.

The brothel opened in February “right in our face”, he said.

“It’s like having the red-light district of Manchester St on your driveway.”

One woman, who did not want to be named, said she had bought a unit as a “nice family home”, but “all of a sudden … I’m too scared to even take my rubbish bins outside because there are people sitting in cars obviously waiting to come in”.

She had had people come to her door trying to find the “full-fledged” brothel.

“They think they’re above the law. I would say it’s not a small owner-operated brothel, otherwise they wouldn’t have had to put more bedrooms in there,” she said..

“We’re coming to you as a last resort to try to protect us … I don’t feel safe.”