A new club has been licensed in Southend, which already has one dedicated lap dance club and two pubs that have occasional striptease. The club ‘Entice’ is to be located in a former nightclub. The application was presented by Mr Sutherland (applicants solicitor). Mr Weatherstone (applicant) and Mr Mal (Manager) were also in attendance.
The sub-committee noted that no objections to the application had been received from the Police. Four representations had however, been received from local residents. Two of the residents attended the hearing and gave evidence.
The application and objections do not appear to be available online, but the local press reports the following pro- and anti- views.
Alistair Cullis, campaigner
I’m a builder. I’m not some sort of feminist crusader, but I’m speaking out against this because I believe women should be given equal chances in society.
This is the 21st century and what contribution does this make?
Statistically, rapes increase around strip clubs. The figures prove that.
I feel the decision had already been made. Most of the committee is made up of old men. It’s disgusting they should to vote on women’s issues.
This will be the fourth venue of its kind here.
What kind of message does that send out? It doesn’t do anything for women’s rights. I don’t know how you can have a high-class, sleazy club.
Alistair Weatherstone, owner of Entice
We are seeing a shift in culture over the past few years. It’s trendy for people to go to strip clubs, and we are seeing more women as customers, too. It’s a different form of entertainment – our clubs are also used for hen dos.
To my knowledge, I have not had any complaints of heckling from anyone outside our clubs. If we did, we’d ban the people responsible.
We tend to have an older audience. That leads to less trouble. I’ve managed bars and you get trouble every week.
Here, you will be looking at a small number of people spending high, rather than filling the place and having people spending £20 each, like you get at the nightclubs.
Objectors – we feel unsafe walking past strip joints
One of the objectors to the new strip club’s licence was a woman who said she was attacked outside a similar venue.
The woman, who asked not to be named, spoke out at the licensing hearing, telling councillors: “I have been heckled and berated by people standing outside strip clubs.
“As a woman walking past these venues, I would not think ‘it’s nice inside, I don’t feel threatened’.
“I was attacked by someone leaving a strip club. Having to see my friends change their lives so much by taking different routes home is messed up.
It’s messed up that the desire to have a sex venue in Southend outweighs the desire for women to feel safe.”
Another objector, a woman from the Essex Feminist Collective, who asked only to be named as Helen, said: “I love Southend, but do you honestly expect people to be spending thousands on a strip club here when they can go into London?”