Shutting lap dancing clubs in Blackpool will make women 'unsafe' claim campaigners

Calls have been made for a rethink on strict policies by councils including Blackpool which want to phase out lap dancing clubs.
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A stag and hen party operator is warning the move will put dancers out of work – and force the industry underground where it will be unregulated and less safe.

Last Night of Freedom wants councils to rethink their rules which they warn could put thousands of women across the country out of work by the end of the decade.

The former Eden lap dancing club on Queen StreetThe former Eden lap dancing club on Queen Street
The former Eden lap dancing club on Queen Street
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It says its investigations show there are very few complaints made to councils about the way lap dancing clubs are run, proving they are safe venues.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Blackpool Council found four complaints had been submitted, all in relation to the former Eden club on Queen Street.

The campaign is being backed by Chelsea Ferguson, a former lap dancer turned entrepreneur.

She said: “In 2023, women should be able to choose freely how to earn a living.

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“Instead, I fear that within a few years, strip clubs in the UK may cease to exist – along with opportunities for women – all because of a few busybody politicians who think they speak for an entire sector of women that they know nothing about.

“But stripping wouldn’t disappear, it would just be more dangerous for the women.

“Clubs have security, CCTV and strict rules to keep dancers safe, but those safety nets would vanish overnight and that’s really scary.”

Matt Mavir, managing director of Last Night of Freedom, said: “The reality is lap dancing venues are a safer place to work than many bars or pubs.

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“There are cameras and very strict rules around what you can and can’t do, and those who choose to work there can potentially earn a very good wage.”

Blackpool Council adopted a zero limit on lap dancing clubs in October 2021 saying this reflected both Blackpool’s aim to be a family resort, and the council’s support of the White Ribbon campaign to reduce violence towards women.

Existing clubs can continue to trade but once those licences lapse for any reason they will not be renewed.

There are now three licensed lap dancing clubs in Blackpool – Eden on the Promenade, Sinless on The Strand and a venue on Queen Street. Heaven on the Promenade is no longer operating after its licence was not renewed last year.

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A Blackpool Council spokesperson said: “Although the number of premises in the policy has been reduced to zero, we currently have three licensed premises and they will be able to continue as long as they comply with the legislation and licence conditions.

“This means from the point of view of existing venues, nothing has changed by the policy that was introduced in 2021.

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

“Licences may reduce naturally by lack of demand for this activity, but lack of demand will mean that other operators will not wish to enter the trade.

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“As with all council policies, this policy will be subject to regular review and any concerns can be addressed during the review process.”

The original data in this article was gained via a Freedom of Information request submitted by Last Night of Freedom.