Friday, 13 January 2012

Lap dancing ruling criticised

LICENSING bosses have been criticised for refusing to limit the number of lap dancing clubs in Solihull.

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Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has taken on new powers to regulate “sexual entertainment venues”.

Yet it has not used the powers to cap the number of venues like lap dancing clubs, which could have been set as zero, banning the venues.

Green Party member Councillor Howard Allen said: “While sex clubs may not be overtaking High Streets across the borough, we have seen how they have very quickly spread in other parts of the country and it's a very timid decision by Solihull councillors not to set an appropriate limit.”

In a press release, he said: “It is bad for Solihull to have even a small element of the seedy culture where women are treated as sex objects.

“I fear for the safety of women residents as sex clubs increase sexual desire without satisfying it.”

A Coventry City Council committee has recommended no venues be allowed, though a final decision has not yet been taken.

Solihull 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 replaces 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.

Yet the council has warned it cannot take a “moral stance” on venues as they are lawful establishments. Sex shops are not affected by the new policy.

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