Lapdancing clubs 'needs licensing change'

15-08-2008

Lapdancing clubs 'needs licensing change'
Campaigning groups are calling for a change to licensing regulations for lapdancing clubs, as the government's consultation on the issue draws to a close.

Campaigning groups the Fawcett Society and Object oppose provisions in the Licensing Act 2003 which permit lapdancing clubs to have the same licence as that used to allow the sale of alcohol.

They say the number of lapdancing clubs is estimated to have doubled since 2004 and blame the relaxed restrictions for the trend.

Transferring lapdancing licensing to the same level as sex encounter establishments – like sex shops and sex cinemas – would help resolve the problem.

Kat Banyard, campaigns officer at the Fawcett Society, said a "lax" regime had caused "the proliferation of lapdancing clubs in the UK".

"The only viable solution is to license lap dancing clubs as sex encounter establishments.

"This would untie the hands of local authorities and enable them to fulfil their duties under the gender equality duty. Alongside local authorities across the country we urge the government to enact reform and give local communities a voice."

Their campaign has attracted the support of Labour MP Roberta Blackman-Woods, who introduced a private members' bill to the Commons on the issue in June.

"Most of us agree that there are areas in cities where perhaps adult entertainment is suitable, but there are areas where it certainly is not," she said.

"In Durham a club was granted a license by the city council in a completely inappropriate location, and this has happened all over the country. I think local councils need to be given more powers to turn these applications down where they are really not wanted."

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