Campaigners against Wilmslow’s lap dancing club are redoubling their efforts as the deadline approaches for objections to the club’s annual licence renewal.
ST Lounge on Grove Street, which Van Leisure Ltd has operated in Wilmslow since 2009, is forced to reapply for a licence on an annual basis following Cheshire East Council’s adoption of Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982 which came into effect from 4th April 2011.
A group of local residents, business people and community leaders formed an action group, called Make Wilmslow Matter, in 2012 after the ST Lounge’s permission to operate was renewed.
The club was granted a new Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence by the General Licensing Sub-Committee in March 2012, despite objections from local residents, councillors and churches. However, the police had no objections to the licence being granted.
The campaigners argue that the club’s location, in a pedestrian shopping area, is in a totally wrong place for the community.
Marion Amir-Hekmat, chairman of Make Wilmslow Matter, is leading a letter writing and petition signing campaign by local people opposed to the club’s licence renewal.
She said “Our message is striking a chord with local councillors, people running businesses in town, leaders of local schools and many people who care about restoring the character of one of our busiest shopping streets. Now is the time for all these voices to be heard.”
Former leader of Cheshire East Council, Cllr Wesley Fitzgerald said “I have full sympathy with the many objectors who strongly resent the presence of such an inappropriate trade on what is a main shopping street in Wilmslow.
“Notwithstanding the night time activities, during the day its frontage with shutters down and a carpet of fag ends etc. from the previous night’s activities is a depressing sight for morning shoppers. The legality of this enterprise is not in question, merely its location. It is in the wrong place and is causing offence to many Wilmslow residents.”
Martin Hoyle of The Wilmslow Trust commented: “Wilmslow is trying to build a commerce sector which relies on niche businesses to attract shoppers from a wide area. This sort of establishment doesn’t form part of that sector and, indeed, could harm it.”
In August 2012 Wilmslow Town Council voted in favour of Wilmslow being designated a ‘zero’ locality for sexual entertainment venues by the licensing authority, Cheshire East Council. Make Wilmslow Matter argue that this would be the best way to restore the town’s image.
ST Lounge Gentlemens Club and Champagne Bar has applied for the renewal of its Sexual Entertainment Venue Licence to use 16 Grove Street for the following forms of ‘relevant entertainment’ : lap dancing, table dancing, strip shows and full nudity.
Any objections to this application should be made not later than 28 days after Monday 21st January 2013 being the date of the application. Objections must be made in writing, stating in general terms the grounds of objection, to: The Licensing Section, Cheshire East Borough Council, Town Hall, Market Place, Macclesfield SK10 1DX.