Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Public to have say on new powers to control sex entertainment venues

Local residents are being given the opportunity to share their views on a new policy which would give the council more control over sexual entertainment venues in Leeds.

Leeds City Council has drawn up the new policy to ensure that sex establishments in the area operate in a safe, fair and discreet manner and are sensitive to the local area.

The draft policy pays particular attention to advertising, staff welfare and the external appearance of the premises.

The council’s licensing committee this week agreed for the public consultation to go ahead. Members of the public are being asked for their views on the draft policy which seeks to regulate sex establishments, including sexual entertainment venues like lap-dancing clubs and strip clubs, sex shops and sex cinemas.

As part of the public consultation, which begins on Monday 4 April until 24 June 2011, the council will seek the views of trade and support groups, local religious groups, ward members and local MPs. Members of the public will also be invited to take part in the consultation through an online questionnaire at leeds.gov.uk.

Councillor Suzi Armitage, chair of the licensing committee said:
“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. But we also want to ensure they operate in a safe and discreet way so the policy also looks at how we can best protect staff welfare and control advertising and external appearance.”

If the policy gets the go ahead it is expected to come into effect in October 2011. Operators of existing venues will then need to apply for a new sex establishment licence.

Earlier this year the council’s licensing committee agreed to adopt amendments to the Policing and Crime Act 2009, which introduced a new classifications of sex establishments, bringing lap dancing, pole dancing and other forms of sexual entertainment under a new licensing regime. This gives local authorities more power to determine the number and location of strip clubs and similar venues in the area.

People wanting to take part in the consultation should contact the council’s entertainment licensing section on 0113 2474095, visit leeds.gov.uk/spc, or email entertainment.licensing@leeds.gov.uk.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713
Email: emma.whittell@leeds.gov.uk