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‘Mistake’ by council officials could open the door to controversial nightspot in Worcester
WORCESTER’S licensing chief has admitted a massive “mistake” is behind a loophole which may see the council unable to prevent a controversial lap dancing club opening up in the city.
Councillor Paul Denham, chairman of the licensing committee, which rules over taxis, restaurants, pubs and clubs, says they were “guilty of a mistake” in not adopting the Police and Crime Act 2009.
In July, it emerged that the city council had the chance to formally accept the legislation, which was aimed to making it difficult for people to open up sexual entertainment venues.
Your Worcester News can now reveal the licensing committee agreed to adopt it at a meeting in 2010, but it then mysteriously vanished off the agenda.
After the committee accepted the legislation, it was meant to go before a full council meeting for a final vote, but never got to that stage.
Three years later, the failure means the controversial application to open a lap and pole dancing club at The Butts in Worcester must be determined under far less strict guidance.
Coun Denham was on the committee at the time, when it was chaired by former Tory David Clarke, who is no longer on the council.
Coun Denham said: “The committee recommended we adopt the new legislation, but for some reason totally unknown to me it never appeared on the next full council meeting agenda.
“It’s a cock-up, quite honestly. Somehow the subject never went to full council, and nobody spotted it.
“It was a mistake. You could say the officers should have spotted it as well as the chairman at the time, but in a sense we were all guilty.”
Because of the failure, the application for Black Cherry lap dancing club must be considered under the 2003 Licensing Act, and treated as a straightforward premises licence.
Businessman Ashvin Patel wants to turn the former Funk Club into the venue despite fierce opposition.
Coun Denham has also confirmed he will not be chairing the meeting which will decide the applicant’s fate.
He will step aside because wife Councillor Lynn Den-ham, who represents the area, has already voiced her strong opposition to it.
It will be chaired by Councillor Jo Hodges, from the Labour Party.
The sub-committee is expected to take place at the Guildhall on Thursday Sep-tember 26, at 10am, but the date will only be confirmed later in the month.
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