Senior councillors in Leeds are expected to give the go ahead for a public consultation on a new policy for sexual entertainment venues in the city.
At a meeting of Leeds City Council’s licensing committee next week (12 March) members will review a draft policy and decide whether to agree for it to go out to consultation.
If agreed, local residents will be given the opportunity to share their views on the new policy which would give the council more control over the location and number of sexual entertainment venues in Leeds, amongst other changes.
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 strong 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 Peter Gruen executive member responsible for neighbourhoods, planning and support services:
“This is the opportunity for Leeds residents to have their say on how we deal with the licensing of new and existing sexual entertainment venues. If it gets the go ahead our new policy would help us control such venues and where they can be located, preventing them from opening up in inappropriate areas.”
In order to draw up the draft policy the council has undertaken 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%)
If given the go ahead the consultation will begin on Monday 18 March to 26 April 2013. The draft policy will be available for comment from then and can be accessed on the council’s website at www.leeds.gov.uk/spc.
At the committee meeting the members will also be asked to approve a 3% increase in application fees to bring them in line with inflation, as well as agreeing that all applications for sexual entertainment venues should be determined by Licensing Committee.
For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713