Lap-dancing rules set to toughen up

Sinless, at Central Promenade.
Sinless, at Central Promenade.
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LICENSING chiefs look set to rule up to four lap-dancing clubs will be allowed to operate in Blackpool in future – double the number originally proposed.

A new policy setting out tough regulations to control the spread of sex entertainment venues is due back before councillors next week following a six-month consultation.

Striptease

When the policy was first put together, the then ruling Conservatives suggested the number of lap-dancing and striptease clubs be limited to two.

But under the new Labour administration, it is being recommended up to four are allowed. However each application will be considered on its own merit, meaning other licences could still be allowed.

Coun Norman Hardy, chairman of Blackpool Council’s public protection sub-committee, said: “I feel if you are going to have a certain number, then you have to have a reasonable number.

“You aren’t going to be able to ban them, they will just go underground.

“I believe it’s better to have these clubs properly licensed and controlled rather than going underground and operating under their own rules.”

The proposed location of venues will also be key, with restrictions expected in residential areas, and around schools and key tourist attractions, although no outright ban on certain areas is being proposed.

Lap-dancing clubs currently operating in Blackpool include Wicked on Chapel Street, Eden, Heaven and Sinless, all on the Promenade, and Solid Gold in Clifton Street.

Any venue which holds more than 11 strip tease shows in a year will have to apply for one of the new licences which will take effect from May 2 2012.

Under the 2003 Licensing Act, lap-dancing clubs were licensed like bars and pubs. That meant they could only be closed down if they created problems in the area such as increasing crime or endangering public safety.

Blackpool’s public protection sub-committee will consider the new policy on Thursday October 20.