A swingers’ club that has been ordered to shut down plays a vital role in supporting other businesses in Blackpool, it’s boss today claimed.
Chris Maher today vowed to keep fighting plans to close his business – Blackpool Connections – on Egerton Road, North Shore.
He argues his controversial sex club – which advertises parties that cater for “every sexuality and preference” – is actually good for the local economy.
“As many as 40 hotel rooms a week are booked up because of my sauna,” he added.
“Cafes are being used, shops are being used, there’s a knock-on effect.
“If I close down, it’s not just me that suffers – the economy of Blackpool that will suffer.”
Mr Maher’s appeal against an enforcement order issued by Blackpool Council was turned down by the Planning Inspector last month.
The decision, which rules he does not have permission to use the building as a swingers’ club, gives him four months to comply.
Mr Maher said: “Because my neighbours have come out in support of me, I intend to put in another planning application.
“I’m not closing down.”
And now he said he has plans to start a petition for those who want to see the swingers’ club stay open.
Norman Gillies, owner of the nearby Tuck In Cafe, said he was fully supportive of Mr Maher’s fight to keep his business open.
Mr Gillies, said: “I suggested he should put the petition together.
“His customers come in on a Sunday morning and they will spend £20 – it’s not a lot but it’s not a busy cafe and it goes a long way.
“They come in here, they are not rude, it’s not a big deal for us.
“We live upstairs on the premises so we see what goes on and we have never heard anything from them.
“I certainly support his efforts to stay open – at the end of the day all you’re going to have is an empty property.”
Mr Maher has questioned why his business has been targeted and claims other swingers’ clubs operate in the resort without having the appropriate planning permission.
Now he plans to fight the decision to stop him trading and vowed to chain himself to the doors of the town hall to get his message across.
He added: “Sometimes you have to break the law to make the law work.
“I have got five people who work for me who are going to be on the dole because of this.”
A decision issued last month by Planning Inspector David Brier upheld the enforcement notice served by Blackpool Council.
He ruled the use of the building as a swingers’ club was in breach of its planning permission, which is for a spa and sauna.
The club was also found to be regularly exceeding its allowed opening hours by allowing people to stay on the premises until 3am on a Saturday, despite locking the doors at midnight.
Mr Brier altered the ruling only to allow four months to comply with the decision.