Sex club boss vows to fight

Swingers' club boss Chris Maher (below) has vowed to fight plans to close his business, Blackpool Connections, on Egerton Road.
Swingers' club boss Chris Maher (below) has vowed to fight plans to close his business, Blackpool Connections, on Egerton Road.
Have your say

The boss of a swingers club in Blackpool who has failed in his bid to overturn a ruling ordering him to shut down has vowed to chain himself to the town hall in protest.

Chris Maher, 60, who also runs the Touchwood Hotel, on Chad Street, has been given four months to comply with an enforcement order calling on him to stop using his premises on Egerton Road as a swingers club.

He hit out at what he claims is an “unfair” decision to target his business, Blackpool Connections, saying he will keep on trading right up until the deadline.

Planning inspector David Brier upheld Blackpool Council’s decision that the use of the building was in breach of its planning permission – which was for a spa and sauna – but ruled the original 14-day time limit to comply was too short.

Mr Maher said: “I am being totally singled out. I have never denied there is sexual activity going on in my premises but my facilities are identical to those in other places.

“I am not going to take this lying down – I am going to chain myself to the doors of the town hall.”

Mr Brier’s report highlights the existence of another swingers club, Infusion, whose website advertises “the largest purpose built swingers club in the North West”, as well as nearby premises with late licenses.

However, he added: “I do not find they offer good reasons for permitting another activity that is likely to be problematic in its own right.”

He ruled that by opening until 3am, Mr Maher was going beyond the accepted use and opening hours for the premises.

Mr Maher said the decision to target his business will only harm the town.

“I pay the council by business rates month after month without fail,” he added.

“How can they put me out of business when it is a thriving business in a town that’s crying out for them?

“How is it right for the council to overlook other places that operate in exactly the same way?”

He said he is considering taking his appeal to the High Court next but as it stands he will have to close the club at the end of the four months.

Coun David Owen, chairman of the planning committee, said: “Disappointed applicants have the right to appeal.

“It is always satisfying when our policies are upheld.

“If a complaint is brought to the attention of the planning department it gets investigated in the normal way.”