Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Tough laws pledged on lap dancing

TOUGH new laws on lap dancing clubs have been put forward by Solihull council bosses.

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Councillors will have discretion to throw out plans if they are near schools, community buildings, homes, places of worship and tourist attractions.

They can also refuse sex establishment licence applications if other “sexual entertainment venues” are nearby.

The regime will replace a broader policy which determined the venues the same ways at pubs and clubs.

Under this, plans were allowed as long as it met four general principles around crime and disorder and protection of children.

A controversial application, The Honey Club, was approved under these rules in 2009 by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.

This could have to re-apply for a license under the new rules. The council said the existing rules are “insufficiently robust”.

Yet it said: “The council does not take a moral stance in approving this policy.

“The council recognises that Parliament has made it lawful to operate sex establishments and that such businesses are a legitimate part of the retail and leisure industry.”

It said: “ The authority will have far greater powers to manage premises and deal with applications for ‘sexual entertainment venue’ licences.”

The former policy was set by the Government’s Licensing Act 2003.

Ministers introduced the new rules in Section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009. The council adopted this earlier this year but needs to set a policy on venues.

Sex shops and cinemas would not be affected by the new policy.

The policy is out for consultation, click here to respond.

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