Sex club chief defies council

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A NOTORIOUS swingers' club is expanding in an apparent act of defiance against town hall chiefs who had vowed to shut it down.

The Passion Club on Buchanan Street, Blackpool is boasting new Thursday night sessions – four months after councillors voted to take enforcement action.

The venue's website is now also telling people they should bring their own alcohol, after owner Ian Roche, 42, was fined 1,250 by Blackpool magistrates for selling booze without a licence.

Blackpool Council says it has not served a notice of enforcement against the club yet because it is waiting for a planning application in relation to use of part of the premises as a flat to be heard at a meeting of the development control committee.

Development control chairman Coun Michael Carr said he also believed the swingers' club, where consenting couples meet for sex, is now operating out of a hotel which would put it out of reach of planning laws.

He said: "We believe the club is probably not now operating out of Buchanan Street. If it is operating out of a hotel, then what goes on there is not a planning issue."

Action was taken against Passion because it was functioning in a former warehouse without planning permission for use as a club.

The club's website also offers services at Hotel Serenity on Dickson Road which is described as "Blackpool's finest swingers' hotel" on its homepage.

Mr Roche was unavailable to comment on the latest developments, but a spokesman confirmed he is appealing against his conviction.

Planners are also still waiting to serve a closure notice on another controversial venue after it was decided in February to shut down a massage parlour on Adelaide Street amid fears it was used as a brothel.

Coun Carr said: "The problem here is the person operating the massage parlour is not the owner of the premises and we have to serve the notice to the owner of the premises."

shelagh.parkinson@blackpoolgazette.co.uk