Central Beds floats ‘nil policy’

Central bedfordshire, which covers Sandy, Dunstable, Leighton Buzzard, Ampthill, etc, is consulting on its new policy, which, if adopted would restrict the available locations for clubs.

A telephone survey of 1,123 residents carried out prior to the policy being drawn up resulted in 63 per cent of respondents saying they did not believe licences for sexual entertainment venues should be granted in their local area.

It has been reported that the policy represents a nil limit. Not quite so, as it says the following;

“The Council has set a limit on the distance a sex establishment may be sited in relation to sensitive areas or premises . Having regard to its analysis the Council has determined that the appropriate distances to be maintained is 500m from those types of premises set out below.
– Schools, nurseries or any other premises substantially used by or for children under 16 years of age
– Areas frequented by children and families
– Residential areas
– Parks or other recreational areas used by or for children under 16 years of age
– Areas frequented by vulnerable adults
– Areas associated with family leisure and retail
– Community buildings
– Churches or other places of religious worship
– Buildings or locations where leisure activities are undertaken
– Sites of historical or heritage value’

As such, the policy is similar to Coventry’s in the sense that the buffer around sensitive land uses is such that it is unlikely suitable sites can be identified, as the policy underline: ‘Given the characteristics of Central Bedfordshire this will result in a nil policy in many areas, those areas where it is likely a licence will be granted are industrial areas or adjacent to main transit routes through the area’.

One thing that puzzles me about this is the idea that historic sites are inappropriate for sex-related land use, as this has rarely been a grounds for objection and it is not clear to me why that is a licensing, and not a planning, issue. Of course, all these land uses are quite vaguely defined so it is down to the committee to use their local knowledge whether any of these are within 500m of a premise.

It should be noted there are currently 2 sex shops and 2 striptease venues licensed in Central Beds.

The policy:

http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/Images/130606draftlicensingpolicysexestablishments_tcm6-44585.pdf#False

Details of the consultation:

http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/Images/130604%20SEV%20Consultation%20Document_tcm6-44586.pdf

Consultation is open to 30th Aug.

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