New policy on lap dancing clubs to be considered
Senior councillors in Leeds are expected to give the go ahead for a new policy for sexual entertainment venues (SEV) in the city next week.
At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s executive board next Wednesday (17 July) members will consider the draft policy and decide whether it should be implemented.
Earlier this year local residents were given the opportunity to share their views on the draft policy which would give the council more control over the location and number of sexual entertainment venues in Leeds, amongst other changes.
The draft policy was drawn up following research with the Leeds Citizen’s Panel which provided clear guidance about locations and numbers.
If given the go ahead the new policy will introduce a cap on the number of premises the council thinks is appropriate for the city centre and state that sexual entertainment venues are not appropriate outside of the city centre. The policy also describes sensitive uses and localities within the city centre where sexual entertainment venues should not be located. The changes would come into force in September 2013.
In January 2011 the council adopted the ability to licence lap dancing clubs and other premises which provide sexual entertainment in the same way as sex shops and sex cinemas.
Following the initial licensing of seven lap dancing clubs as sex establishments in June 2012, the council undertook to review the policy to ensure it still met the needs of the people of Leeds.
The council has drawn up the new policy in response to public concern about lap dancing premises in the city. The former chair of the licensing committee recommended that the policy was reviewed earlier than originally planned.
Councillor Rebecca Charlwood chair of the licencing committee said:
“We understand that many people have strong views on sexual entertainment venues so it was only right that we reviewed our policy to make sure it was right for the people of our city. We have listened to public opinion and based the new policy on the views we received.”
In order to draw up the draft policy the council undertook research through the Leeds Citizens’ Panel - a group of Leeds residents who have committed to respond to a number of surveys each year.
The results of the survey showed that the people of Leeds consider:
• The number of lap dancing clubs should be restricted.
• That residential, rural and deprived areas are all unsuitable locations
• That it is not acceptable to locate lap dancing clubs near:
Schools and other places of education (94%)
Play areas or parks (93%)
Residential areas (92%)
Youth facilities (92%)
Women’s refuge facilities (90%)
Family leisure facilities such as cinemas, theatres and concert halls (90%)
Places of worship (87%)
Places used for celebration or commemoration (85%)
Cultural leisure facilities such as libraries and museums (82%)
In 2010 the Government introduced a new category of sex establishment called a ‘sexual entertainment venue’. This reclassified lap dancing clubs as sexual entertainment venues and gave local authorities the power to regulate such venues.
The council’s licensing committee will review each existing licence when they are due for renewal later this year.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713