No sex (entertainment) in Hounslow

Hounslow council adopted a policy on 5th June 2011 to limit the number of sexual entertainment venues in the borough: following a vote this week, that limit is now nil.

There are currently no premises with a Sex Establishment or Sexual Entertainment Venue licence in the borough (though there were in the past), but ‘The council will not apply this limitation when considering applications for premises that were already trading with express permission for the type of entertainment which is now defined as sexual entertainment on the date that the licensing provisions were adopted if they can demonstrate in their application:

• High standards of management
• A management structure and capacity to operate the venue
• The ability to adhere to the standard conditions for sex establishments

The Council will hence consider each application on its merits although new applicants will have to demonstrate why the Council should depart from its policy’

This policy was voted on in the light of 20 letters of support for the nil policy, around 9 letters against it, and with sight of the ESRC research on sexual entertainment (see Research tab).


Refusal no 34: Leeds striptease club refused licence

The net appears to be tightening around clubs in many locations at present: on tuesday a hearing around the Black Diamond club was postponed because one of the councillor involved was married to an objector. Today it was heard and the licence refused. The club has been operating for some years, and gained planning permission to extend recently, but the new Leeds policy to cut down on club numbers appears to have been given weight in the determination (see:


Chester’s Platinum Lounge refused renewal of licence (refusal no. 33)

Chester’s only SEV has been refused a licence because it is no longer suitable in the locality, which has apparently become more residential than 12 months ago. There were 8 objections and a representation from local business operators, but an equal number of letters of support and a petition in favour of renewal.

The following from:

“Chester’s only lapdancing club is facing an uncertain future after failing to get its licence renewed.

The decision concerning the Platinum Lounge on Bridge Street Row was made at a Cheshire West and Chester Council licensing committee hearing held at HQ today (Tuesday, September 17).

Following the announcement, a CWaC spokesman said: “We have rejected the application for a renewal of the licence on the grounds the area has become far more residential than it was when the licence was first issued.

“Regulations consider such premises to be acceptable only within largely commercial areas.

“But the area in question has seen a lot of commercial properties being turned into homes and consequently it is now more residential.”

The spokesman explained such premises are allowed to hold lapdancing sessions 11 times in the course of a 12 month period as long as those occasions are not consecutive.

“Therefore, the Platinum Lounge will no longer be able to operate in the way it has been doing up to now,” the spokesman added.

The Platinum Lounge has yet to comment on the decision. If the club decides to appeal, this will have to be done via a judicial review.

One of the main voices of opposition to the renewal was Labour Cllr Samantha Dixon.

In a statement to the committee, she said: “This area is becoming increasingly residential and residents and others have already described to me problems relating to these premises which damage the character of the area.

“Furthermore, I believe it is inappropriate for a sex entertainment venue to be located on the city’s historic Rows which are an important heritage asset for Chester.”

However, not all residents were opposed to the lapdancing venue being allowed to renew its licence.

Mark Lane of Watergate Street wrote in support of the club: “I have to say this venue has zero negative impact on the street.

“If Chester is to attract business people and tourism, it must have a diverse offering.”

As part of their application for renewal, the Platinum Lounge owners pointed out it has been operating since November 2005 and gives regular employment to about 40 people.

The entertainment being applied for was listed as “lap dancing, pole dancing, full nudity”.

The Platinum Lounge was set up in 2005 on Bridge Street Row in the premises previously occupied by the On The Air broadcasting museum.

At the time of the opening, manager Nigel Woodhouse said: “We are trying to create something stylish and classy that the people of Chester can be proud of.”

Controversy first surrounded the club about a year later when it successfully applied to allow full nudity, something which was criticised by the Bishop of Chester the Rt Rev Dr Peter Forster who said: “I dislike all activities which either demean and exploit other human beings, or which separate human sexual attraction from its proper basis in responsible human relationships.”

But opponents of the venue have been increasingly making their voices heard and tried to block the renewal of the club’s licence in April 2012.

On that occasion, the objectors were unsuccessful, prompting Debbie Lomas, co-owner of the Rainforest shop on Watergate Row, to criticise the council.

She said at the time: “They chose to grant a licence to supply the growing demand for people who want sexual stimulation over the wishes of the majority of the residents and businesses. This undermines their stated aims in the One City Plan.”

Tower Hamlets moves nearer to nil policy for sex establishments

Cabinet have approved TH’s new policy, which says there are no suitable localities for sex establishments in the borough, although the policy suggests existing clubs may be allowed to stay open (the approach taken in some other local authorities with an advertised ‘nil policy’). The policy still needs to be approved by council.


New paper on opposition to lap dance premises in UK

Taking Back the Night? Gender and the Contestation of Sexual Entertainment in England and Wales – by Colosi and Hubbard (forthcoming in Urban Studies, 2014)

Despite important moves towards gender equality, the experience of the night-time city remains profoundly different for women and men. The visibility of self-styled ‘gentleman’s clubs’ where female dancers perform for a predominantly male clientele has been taken as prime evidence of this persistent inequity. Opposition to such clubs has hence been vocal, with the result that many local authorities in England and Wales have moved to ban clubs within their jurisdiction utilising the powers of the Policing and Crime Act, 2009. This paper explores the arguments that have per- suaded policy-makers to refuse licences for such venues, particularly the idea that sexual entertainment causes specific harms to women. The paper does not question the veracity of such arguments, but instead explores why sexual entertainment venues have become a target of feminist campaigning, situating this opposition in the context of long-standing debates about the vulnerability of women in the night- time city.

Keywords: Night-time, sex industry, gender equality, crime, UK

“Sexist, misogynistic fuckface“ councillor renews lap dance licence in Bristol

Bristol: 9 objections from the public were received about the renewal of a licence of Central Chambers. (quite a low number considering the amount of publicity those campaigning against clubs in Bristol manage to achieve). Anyway, it has been reported that this was renewed yesterday (16th sept) with some fairly colourful language apparently used by a campaigner to describe the head of the three-strong licensing committee. The offending tweet has now been removed.Central-Chambers-Bristol


“Central Chambers on St Stephen’s Street has had its sexual entertainment venue licence renewed by Bristol City Council despite vociferous campaigning from Bristol feminist groups.
Only three lapdancing clubs are allowed to operate in the BS1 area – Central Chambers and Urban Tiger in the city centre and T3 Temptations in Old Market.
Central Chambers successfully petitioned to retain its licence, the stipulations of which include removing the silhouette of a scantily-clad woman from the front of premises that the Bristol Post business directory innocently refers to as a wine bar.
Feminist campaigner “Bristol_Jane” was live tweeting yesterday’s hearing at City Hall, during which she called Conservative group leader Peter Abraham a “sexist, misogynistic fuckface“.
On the other side of the debate, lapdancers signed a petition started by Central Chambers manager Carrie Hale stating that they should be free to earn money how they like and that their venues are important to Bristol’s nighttime economy.”