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Sex show loophole in the law is closed
A LOOPHOLE in legislation covering the opening of lap-dancing clubs in Worcester has been closed.
Worcester City Council has voted to accept protections under the Policing and Crime Act 2009, which makes it difficult for people to open up sexual entertainment venues. As your Worcester News revealed in September, the council made an error four years ago by not adopting the legislation, after it mysteriously went off the agenda.
Since then, business owners looking to open up venues like lap-dancing clubs have been given free rein, with any applications treated as a straightforward premises licence, alongside pubs.
The error came to light earlier this year when a bid was made to convert the former Funk Club, in the Butts, to the Black Cherry, a lap-dancing venue.
Eventually, the application was withdrawn, and since then the city council has been consulting over adopting the Policing and Crime Act. It was voted through during a full council meeting at the Guildhall this week and means the council can refuse applications if they are worried about the location, the number of venues, or objections such as police concerns. Councillor Paul Denham, who chairs the licensing committee, urged his colleagues to accept the move.
“This simply allows us to control sexual entertainment venues, and likewise sex shops, whereas at the moment there is no control over them whatsoever,” he said. “This gives us the right to control them, to determine if the locations are appropriate, and if there is the right numbers of them. I strongly recommend we adopt it.”
The licensing committee agreed to adopt it at a meeting in 2010, but it then 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 it never got to that stage.
During Tuesday’s full council meeting, it was voted through unanimously.
Councillor Adrian Gregson, the leader, said: “Plenty has been said about this in the Press, for good or ill.”
Following the withdrawal of the Black Cherry application, Worcester has no pending lap-dancing club applications in the pipeline.