CONTROVERSIAL proposals to allow up to four lap-dancing clubs to operate in Blackpool have been agreed – but venues will have to comply with tough rules.
Nudity will continue to be banned while customers must sit down throughout performances and will be forbidden from touching dancers.
Clubs will have to adhere to a total of 47 licensing conditions which also include strict controls on publicising premises.
Blackpool Council’s public protection sub-committee agreed a new policy covering sex entertainment venues which will come into force from May next year.
When the policy was first put together, the then ruling Conservatives suggested the number of lap-dancing and striptease clubs be limited to two.
But the new Labour administration recommended up to four are allowed. However each application will be considered on its own merit, meaning other licences could still be allowed.
Coun Paul Galley claimed the move would be damaging to Blackpool’s reputation as a family resort.
He said: “I think this would send out the wrong message - that Blackpool is becoming sleazy.”
But Coun Chris Maughan said as long as venues were discreet and complied with the rules, he believed they should be allowed.
He said: “In Blackpool these venues are going to be highly regulated.
“If we do the right thing as a council and have the legislation in place, I don’t think it will be detrimental to Blackpool at all.”
Mark Marshall, licensing and health and safety manager at Blackpool Council, said existing lap-dancing clubs were generally well run in the town.
He added: “They suffer a lot less anti-social behaviour and a lot less crime. There is a lot more sit down drinking and the violence, crime and other issues associated with town centre premises don’t appear in these premises.”
There are currently seven lap-dancing clubs operating in Blackpool - Wicked on Chapel Street, Eden, Heaven and Sinless, all on the Promenade, Solid Gold and Club Rouge in Clifton Street and Fallen Angels on Albert Road.