Election pledge of town sauna owner

The Honeycombe Sauna on Egerton Road and (below) Chris Maher.
The Honeycombe Sauna on Egerton Road and (below) Chris Maher.
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THE owner of a controversial gay sauna has vowed to stand in the next local council election.

Chris Maher, owner of Honeycombe Sauna on Egerton Road, North Shore, has said he will stand against his ward councillor, Ivan Taylor.

Mr Maher yesterday blasted a Blackpool Council decision to refuse extended opening hours to his business, a sauna, and said he will be appealing the decision.

The businessman, who was a councillor for Wrexham Council for eight years, went on to say that he will be ignoring the council’s decision and opening his venue until the early hours regardless.

He said: “I intend to open the building, as of October, until 3am in the morning.

“This goes against their decision and the reason I am doing this is because I am in direct competition with other venues.

“Not only do I intend to open my building, but I intend to stand against that councillor [Ivan Taylor] in the next election.”

A Blackpool Council planning meeting refused Mr Maher’s application for longer opening hours, to have his sauna open until 3am on weekends.

This followed an earlier refusal by the council’s licensing committee to grant a drinks licence to the premise.

Mr Maher had wanted a licence to sell alcohol until 1am four days a week, and until 3am from Thursday to Saturday. The venue is currently open 11am-8pm daily, but Mr Maher claimed that it had already been open until 3am some nights.

Ramsey Laing, whose home neighbours the sauna on Egerton Road, gave a statement in support of the application at the meeting.

He said: “We’ve lived in our property for about seven years and there have been no trouble and no problems in the way it has been run.”

But Claremont ward councillor Ivan Taylor spoke on behalf of his constituents who had fought against the application.

He said: “This is a residential area surrounded by residential streets where there are not the 3am openings like in the town centre, such as Queen Street. This would be disruptive to the area.”

Speaking after the planning meeting, Mr Taylor added: “With regards to future elections, anyone can stand. That is democracy.”

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