Local residents should have more say on the licensing of sex clubs according to Nia Griffith MP, who is sponsoring a parliamentary bill which would give local communities stronger powers to limit the proliferation of sexual entertainment venues such as lap dancing clubs.
She has praised Carmarthenshire County Council, which currently has no sex clubs, for developing a strict policy, which they can use to turn down future applications for such establishments.
The purpose of the Bill which has just been introduced into the Commons by Diana Johnson MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Crime and Security is to amend the 2009 Policing and Crime Act to oblige councils to consult on sexual entertainment venues, write a specific policy for such establishments and set a limit on the number of such venues within the authority.
Nia Griffith explained,
“This Bill is about giving local communities the power to decide what is best for their area, and the chance to keep sex clubs out altogether. The 2009 legislation gave councils the option to set a limit on the number of sex clubs, and some councils like Swansea have used this to a set a limit of zero. But unless councils adopt a specific policy on sex clubs, as Carmarthenshire has done, it can be too easy for applications to get through under general licensing procedures, in spite of protests from local residents and the concerns of licensing committees, because of the threat of expensive legal action. This Bill requires councils to consult residents and develop a firm policy including a limit on the number of such clubs. They can then use the policy to turn down unwanted applications and save the council a fortune in appeal fees.“