Residents to have more say over lap dancing clubs

People in the Chichester district look likely to have a bigger say on sex in the future.

Under a new ‘sexual establishment venues’ policy being considered by district councillors, they will have an opportunity to oppose applications for lap-dancing clubs on wider grounds than they can at the moment.

There are currently no such venues operating in the district – moves to launch a lap-dancing club in the city some years ago failed to get off the ground in the face of strong local opposition.

The district licensing and enforcement committee agreed to recommend the council to adopt new legal powers allowing applications to be opposed with claims such as the fact the introduction of a sexual establishment would be ‘inappropriate’ because of an area’s specific character.

The powers also allow councils to set a limit on the number of lap dancing clubs.

The committee was told the council needed to re-adopt legislation which had subsequently been amended so that it could take advantage of the new regime.

This action was recommended by officers, although members heard the council was not compelled to do so.

Cllr Mick Shone said anyone who had read the legislation would know that not adopting it was a no-brainer.

“If we don’t do this, it will throw the doors open, and we will not have any reasonable excuses to turn down an application,” he warned.

Councillors were told the adoption of the legislation would also require any operator of a sex establishment or sexual entertainment venue to apply to the council before starting the business.

But there were exemptions to the requirement for a licence under the new regime.

If relevant entertainment was provided on an infrequent basis in certain licensed premises on no more than 11 occasions in a year, no licence would be needed.