Go ahead for zero limit on Blackpool lap dancing clubs

Blackpool has now formally adoped a policy which will eventually see lap dancing clubs phased out in the resort.

Wednesday, 13th October 2021, 10:17 am
Town hall licensing chiefs have agreed a new policy for lap dancing clubs

The ambition to purge the town of sexual entertainment venues (SEVs) was first revealed in January this year.

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Following public consultation, the updated policy was approved by the Licensing Committee in September and has now crossed the final hurdle after it was agreed by the council’s executive.

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The existing four clubs will be allowed to continue operating, but once those licences lapse for any reason they will not be renewed. Only one sex shop will also be allowed to trade in the town in future once existing licences have run their course.

Coun Neal Brookes, cabinet member for enforcement, public safety, highways and transport, told the executive: “As a white ribbon accredited authority and a family friendly destination, we are working towards a zero limit on the number of sexual entertainment venues and lap dancing clubs.

“To protect the four businesses that are currently licensed, they will be able to continue as long as they comply with the legislation and licence conditions.

“However once the licence is surrendered or revoked, any new application would be considered against the limit of zero.”

Operators of the existing lap dancing clubs in Blackpool, which are Eden One, Eden Two, Heaven and Sinless, had warned the restrictions could drive lap dancing underground.

Ashley Sayers, whose family has operated Eden Two on the Promenade for 14 years, said dancers “will be tempted, if not forced to work in places such as hotels for private bachelor parties where their risk of sexual assault and financial exploitation would be alarmingly high.”

Coun Brookes said comments made during consultation had been taken into account in making the decision to approve the new policy.

The council believes the move better reflects Blackpool’s aim to be a family resort, and its support of the White Ribbon campaign to reduce violence towards women.

Other changes within the revised policy include tighter controls over how dances are paid for, and a ban on dancers taking mobile phones into performance areas.

CCTV must be able to store recordings for a minimum of 21 days.

The policy, which was last revised in 2016, will be effective until 2026 when the next review is due.

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