UK Sex Shop News

 2003

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16th December

    No Hitches in Hitchin

From The Online Comet The first sex shop in North Herts will opened its doors in Hitchin recently. Sixx will be open six days a week at their premises in Cam Square off Wilbury Way. The company will also operate a mail order business for a range of sex products from the shop.

The licence was confirmed by North Herts District Council who said there were no objections to the sex shop. Because of the delay in getting the licence, plans for a porn star to open the shop have been shelved although Sixx are planning to hold a special party in the New Year.

The company also host events and parties under the banner The Ultimate Girls Night In and will include a number of pub and club events as well as hosting charity events. We do not see why customers should be made to feel intimidated, uncomfortable or sleazy when they buy adult products, said Sixx marketing manager Mary Jones. We have worked closely with government bodies to ensure our business conforms to all standards and we hope customers, both male and female, feel relaxed in our shop, find our staff friendly, professional and knowledgeable.

Although the Hitchin premises is predominately a light industrial unit it plays an important role in the future of our company. The company required premises that would allow them to expand their mail order and internet sales business but required an ancillary area to be licensed in order to sell DVDs and videos."

Sixx will retail a range of adult products, PVC, leather and latex clothing, corsets and basques, accessories and R18 videos as well as DVDs.

When he was informed of the sex shop opening, the Rev Michael Roden, team rector of St Mary's Hitchin, said: People are likely to find a lot more human warmth and passion in a church than in a sex shop.

 

4th December

    Stockings Up

From The Stockport Express

Sex shop owners, keen to move into Stockport to take advantage of some of the lowest licence fees in the country, have just five months left to get their application in to the council offices.

Almost 18 months after the Stockport Express revealed fees of around 600 were attracting sex shops from areas such as Manchester and Tameside, where they charge over 5,000, the borough's licensing committee has agreed to increase their charge to 4,000. However, the full council has yet to rubberstamp the decision and the massive price hike won't come into effect until April next year.

The decision comes after the committee rejected plans to open a fourth sex shop near a primary school in Edgeley in August and threw out another application for Mersey Square in October. The town already has three sex shops with the latest, Personal Lines, opened in Great Portwood Street in June.

The councillors' decision to fall in line with nearby local authorities may take the pressure off licensing officials who said last summer they had received more applications for sex shops than in the previous decade. A spokesperson for the council said that no applications were being dealt with currently and any new ones would pay the old rate of 600 until April. After that all existing shops would have to pay 2,000 to renew their licences and 4,000 for a new licence.

A year ago there were fears that the low licence fees would transform the historic Underbank-Hillgate area of the town into Stockport's Soho after two applications for sex shops were due to be considered.

The manager of a nearby Christian bookshop, John Watkins, said he feared the area would be turned into a red light district and the council received a barrage of objections. As it turned out, they rejected one application and the other applicant failed to show up.

When the low level of licence fees was first revealed, the licensing committee was attacked by Tories and Labour, with both parties urging higher fees as a way of preventing a rash of sex shops in the borough.

At that time the Liberal Democrat committee chairman, Dr Chris Gordon said it would be illegal to raise fees to force sex shops out of the town or to increase the charge to make a profit. We cannot use licence fees to raise revenue , he said.

He was backed by licensing officer John Smith, who said: If we decided to change our fees the person applying for a licence would be within their rights to question why it is so high, and we would have to justify that.

The apparent U-turn is explained by officials as being justified by a new policy on sex shop applications which involves a lot more work and necessitates the 700 per cent increase in fees.

Bolton, Bury and Oldham are now cheaper locations to site a sex shop than Stockport - and Oldham is already the home of Europe's first sex supermarket.

 

2nd December

    Health Centre Users Branded Vulnerable

Based on a biased article from The Evening Star

A tightening of the rules surrounding the licensing of sex establishments has this week been enforced by a shameful Suffolk council. Suffolk coastal's licensing and health committee met on Tuesday to discuss the regulation of the opening of sex shops in its district.

They agreed to enforce a number of policies, designed to regulate where and how these kinds of establishment can open. Applicants will have to pay 12,000 for a licence. If their application is unsuccessful they will only be refunded 4,000. If successful, they will need to pay a renewal fee of 4,000 each year.

But, perhaps, most important is the adoption of a policy which states that all applications will be required to show the location of the establishment in relation to facilities used by vulnerable adults – for example, health centres, sheltered accomodation or mental health institutions. (Outrageously patronising! I am sure that users of health centres do not appreciate being treated as weak minded and vulnerable)

This is the first time Suffolk Coastal have agreed a specific set of guidelines for the licensing of sex establishments.
The decision came about after two recent enquiries about opening these kinds of shops in the district.

Nutters of Wickham Market, who have recently been campaigning to stop the opening of a sex shop in their village, welcomed the move. In their case, the application was refused planning permission so never reached the licensing stage, but they believe the new policies will help to protect other villages who may find themselves faced with a similar development.

 

30th November

    Nutters Close

Base on an article from the Salisbury Journal

A petition has been launched opposing plans to convert a building in the centre of Salisbury into the city's third sex shop. A consultation period is currently under way but some concerned Salisbury residents are branding the plans inappropriate because of the shop's central location. (What sort of bollox is this?).

Postman Andy Woodger, who launched the petition, said: It's right in the middle of town, where lots of children pass by on their way to nursery, and just up the road from the Baptist Church. (So perhaps Woodger would like to prove the harm to kids caused by merely walking past a discrete shop)

This is a cathedral city, which attracts a great many tourists, and I don't really think it's the image we want to portray, added Nutter Woodger. I've read about towns much larger than Salisbury limiting the number of these shops to two or three - I think the council should think about that before our city is degraded even further.

The council's licensing officers have received an application seeking permission to turn the current X S Appliances premises on Brown Street into a sex shop, selling explicit films and other adult material. The outlet would be the third sex shop in Salisbury, which some nutters believe is too many in a city of its size.

 

24th November

    More Privacy in Portsmouth

Based on an article from The Portsmouth Evening News

Fury as councillors agree to put hard-core sex shop close to family favourite Mc Donald's

It's in a busy spot in a favourite family shopping area. But soon the empty shop two doors away from a Mc Donald's restaurant and near a bus stop used by children will be selling hardcore pornography. City councillors gave the go-ahead for the sex shop by just one vote. And today shops chiefs branded their decision 'crazy'.

Apparently Ray Darker and Clive Sullivan (David Sullivan's brother) were given permission to run the shop at 229/231 Commercial Road, this will be their 86th shop. The town centre manager Barry Walker was reported to have said, It is not the sort of thing or image we want when we are trying to revive the city centre. Shameful Conservative councillor Jezz Baker who was on the committee and voted against the shop said, This is a crazy decision. I am very concerned that youngsters will have access to hard-core pornographic filth.

A similar application 20 years ago by the same people was rejected. The council's licensing committee approved the plan to open the shop by 5 votes to 4. No objections were made in time to be officially recorded, although the committee did accept 17 late letters of opposition.

 

20th November

    Aberdeen's First

From The Press & Journal

Aberdeen recently gained its first fully-licensed sex shop. The QT adult shop on George Street can now stock graphic R18-rated videos and DVDs.

Licensing committee members voted 7-2 in favour of the application, and later explained that they hoped it would mean the type of material sold by the shop would now be better controlled.

Convener Raymond Hutcheon explained afterwards why James Humphrey's application for his premises at 517 George Street was approved. He said: We have had other shops selling products like this, shops where you have parents and children going in. It's a loophole that they can do this, as long as the products are not the main items on sale. My hope is that now, having licensed premises, these other shops will find their sales drop and they will no longer stock these products. By regulating it, these products will only be available in an over-18s environment. The fact there were only three or four letters of objection shows that the world has changed. When items like this came before the council back in the 80s, there were hundreds of letters from the public.

Applicant James Humphrey, 48, said he would be a responsible licence-holder and said that ordinary people from all backgrounds use the shop, which has been open but not able to sell hard-core material since February this year. A total of 231 people signed a petition supporting the application - including 19 George Street residents and other nearby residents - and he claimed this proved the demand for the products he will sell.

The licence will be reviewed in a year and is subject to strict conditions, which will ensure that it is impossible to see through the windows. Products likely to be offensive to some people will not be visible when the shop door opens, while shop signs will be discreet

But another application for a licence for a sex shop was not granted. The committee decided that former council worker John Baigrie was "not a suitable person" to hold a licence.

John Baigrie's application for his premises at 202-204 Market Street was thrown out unanimously by councillors, but only after they had deliberated for over three hours - most of the time during which the public was excluded.

Baigrie's agent explained that people would not be able to see into the shop and that the premises would not be intimidating. But councillors threw out the application with the brief explanation from Hutcheon that the applicant is not a suitable person.

Trading standards officers raided Mr Baigrie's Urquhart Road shop earlier this month. They targeted his John Winters store where several video tapes were thought to have been removed on Saturday, November 1. That followed a previous raid in January, in which illegal tapes were discovered at the shop. But his not guilty plea to a further charge that he had possessed videos with no issued classification certificates was accepted. In February Baigrie was fined 200 after admitting selling Viagra illegally at the shop.

 

15th November

    Nutters Prevail

Based on a biased article from The Evening Star

There were celebrations amongst local nutters as planners refused to give the go ahead to a sex shop in Wickham Market. The jubilation though was tinged with some disappointment as the applicant will still be able to run a mail order business from the site.

But it was victory for the Evening Star's campaign as councillors refused the application for a members-only adults club retail warehouse use at an industrial unit at Border Cot Lane. The shameful District Councillor for Wickham Market, Bryan Hall, said: We have three quarters of what we asked for but certainly not all of it.

Last night, under cover of darkness, large signs advertising the shop were placed on the building, a move that only served to antagonise residents further. Over 30 concerned residents, some with placards and banners, turned up to this morning's meeting of Suffolk Coastal District Council North Area Development Control Sub Committee. Councillors refused to allow a shop to be opened at the site, (and restricted opening hours until 7pm) citing noise and fear of crime as some of the reasons.

But the crux of the argument hinged on the change of the site from industrial use to retail, a move which goes against the local plan for Wickham Market. The applicants will still however be able to operate a mail order business from the site.

 

31st October

    Taking Telford to European Court

From The Shropshire Star  

The bosses of a Shropshire sex shop have vowed to fight for the right to move to a high street location - even if it means taking their case to the European Court of Justice.

Roger and Nicola Dicken, who run Romeo and Juliets, have applied for leave to appeal against Telford & Wrekin Council's decision not to allow them to move from an industrial estate in Trench to a small shopping district in Ketley.

Dicken said: I can shout from the top of the Wrekin that it is unfair - but it is in the hands of the courts now. If the judge decides we don't have grounds to appeal I will have to seriously consider going to the European Court of Justice because we have followed the council's own guidelines to the letter on this.

The application to move the shop, which sells racy lingerie and bondage costumes as well as X-rated videos and magazines, to Holyhead Road was turned down by councillors earlier this year.

Now Dicken and his wife have applied to appeal. They claim they have been treated unfairly because of outdated attitudes and misconceptions about the shop. Even the term sex shop is outdated - it is part of society now. We are an adult shop providing a service for people in Telford. Since the application was turned down, loads of our customers have asked, 'what era is this council living in?'

He said before deciding on the Ketley location, on the former site of Telford Tiles next to Coral bookmakers and the Ping Hong Chinese takeaway, he had consulted the council and checked their own guidelines on the sort of area sex shops could be positioned.

It took us nearly two years to get the licence in the first place. We have proved ourselves at Trench for eight years without any problems and we intend to fight this decision and prove ourselves again. It is in the hands of the courts now and we will see what happens. I would consider going to the European Court of Justice because there is no justification whatsoever for the decision the council has made.

 

15th October

    Deferred in Wickham

Based on an article from The Evening Star

A sex shop which has sparked angry protests from almost half the population of a quiet Suffolk village was discussed by the council today.

A 1,000 signatures have been collected in opposition to the proposed sex shop and members club in Wickham Market which has a population of around 2,500.

Today, district councillors agreed to make a site visit before making a decision at a later date on whether the contentious planning application, which officers had recommended, will be approved.

Suffolk Coastal's development control sub-committee will make the final decision on the application at a future meeting. Planning officers have recommended the proposals be approved as they meet all the necessary planning criteria.

 

13th October

    Winning in Wickham

Based on an article from The Evening Star

Moves to open a sex shop on a Wickham Market industrial estate look set to receive approval from planning chiefs. Despite the concerns of worried nutters and the opinion of the village's parish council, Suffolk Coastal's planning officers are recommending approval of the application.

The report states: Whilst there may be a moral aspect that could concern people, this aspect is not strictly a planning matter and from a planning point of view, the proposal will need to be considered on its developmental control merits. Planning officers said the proposed location for 'Adam and Eve's Emporium', in the Riverside Industrial Estate in Border Cot Lane, is probably the most suitable type of location for a business of this type. They said the proposal adhered to planning policy and would not detract from the environment or nearby homes.

Eight letters of objection had been received by Suffolk Coastal and the parish council strongly recommended refusal of the business. Objectors criticised the plans and said the 100,000 recently spent on improving Wickham Market would be a waste of money if a sex shop was positioned just off the High Street. Parish councillors warned that the village's reputation was in danger of being damaged. They added there was a real concern crime rates would increase and the industrial units would become a target for burglary and vandalism.

A decision will be taken by Suffolk Coastal's development control sub committee on October 15. If the proposal is approved the applicants will then need to gain a licence to permit them to sell materials of a sexually explicit nature.

A spokesman for Suffolk Coastal said: As yet, a licence has not been applied for and it is likely that the applicants will wait for the planners decision before this happens. As soon as it does we will advertise it and people will have a month to make their objections known. "

He said that even if a licence is not granted the shop would still be able to sell some material of an adult nature. Ann Summers, for example, does not require a licence.

 

11th October

    Proximity to Virgin

From the ic Birmingham

Most adults in Birmingham think sex shops and cinemas should be allowed to stay open later in the evening and would not object if signs advertising the premises were more explicit. Almost two-thirds of those questioned in a survey for the city council could identify at least one of ten licensed adult shops and cinemas in central Birmingham. Only one-fifth, however, admitted to visiting such an establishment in the past two years.

The survey uncovered a surprisingly liberal attitude towards sex shop window displays. The council's licensing conditions insist the only wording that may appear on shop fronts is "Private Shop" or "Adult Shop". Windows have to be obscured and the interior of the premises cannot be visible.

Just over half of those questioned thought the words "adult play things" on the windows of adult shops would be acceptable. A similar proportion were happy with the description "licensed sex shop, DVDs, videos, toys and more".Two-thirds thought it was fairly acceptable or very acceptable to display lingerie in shop windows.

Opinion was split 50-50 on whether the existing ban on sex establishments opening on Sundays should be lifted. Just over half were against opening on Christian holidays, while a similar proportion had no objection to opening on other religious festivals such as Diwali and Eid.

The survey was carried out by Research by Design, which conducted 300 street interviews in the city centre between August 9 and 26.

Meanwhile police nutters are objecting to a proposal to open a sex shop in one of Birmingham's best-known shopping streets. Licensing Inspector, Keith Arnold, who is urging the city council to reject a sex shop licence for 102 Corporation Street, spouted the usual bollox: The premises are in close vicinity to Virgin Megastore, which by its nature attracts large numbers of children and young people. Corporation Street is very much a family shopping area as well as one of the major retail streets in the city centre. This type of premises is inappropriate for this location.

 

8th October

    Unlicensed Persecution

A very inaccurate article from the Waltham Forest Guardian

A man has been fined 550 after pleading guilty to selling X-rated (presumably R18) videos from a Leytonstone shop. On Friday, magistrates at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court ordered Colin Potter to pay 450 plus 100 costs.

Potter was an employee at a video shop called Little Amsterdam in Kirkdale Road. The shop was not a registered sex shop, where such videos can be sold.

Potter told the court that he was not aware he was unable to handle the videos and that he no longer worked for the video shop.

The court heard that the videos were found behind the counter of the shop, and some of the videos were so graphic they would not have been given a licence without first being censored. (Sounds like bollox, perjury maybe or just inaccurate reporting)

The court was told that nine videos had been found and Potter was currently unemployed and suffering from depression

 

6th October

    Richmond Nutters

From  The Richmond and Twickenham Times

Nutters battling to close a Richmond sex shop have vowed to continue their fight despite claims that they have suffered intimidation, including death threats. The claims were made during a speech by Cllr Marc Cranfield-Adams, who is supporting residents in their campaign against the Kew Road shop, at a meeting of Richmond Council on Tuesday. Since residents have started campaigning there have been examples of intimidation. A campaigner was photographed by a stranger in a restaurant and the death threats I have received, whether they are related or not, I don't know. But we will not be intimidated on speaking against it, he stated.

Residents staged a protest outside York House before the meeting, then packed into the council chamber's public gallery to hear the council say it is powerless to stop the shop.

Cabinet member for libraries, sport, art and leisure, Cllr Roger Avins explained: The way the shop currently trades does not constitute a sex shop, which means it does not require a licence and the council has no power to interfere in lawful trading.

The nutters, who currently have more than 600 signatures on their petitions, are not disheartened. They plan to leaflet the public on Friday nights, conduct a poll to gain views on the exterior of the shop and another public meeting is planned for October 20. Dennis Horner outlined their objections: We don't think it is a suitable location. It is a family environment near a nursery school with young children going by. The area has a village atmosphere and that part of Kew Road is famous for restaurants, it is totally out of character. We don't want people like that wandering by. Even if we can't get it to shut down we are going ahead with a poll to see what people think about the shop front. We think it is offensive.

 

28th September

    Neath Contempt

As previously reported : A spokesman for Neath Port Talbot Council said, We wholly reject the suggestion that we are in some way targeting this shop because of its proximity to the MP's office. We have regulatory responsibilities and take those very seriously. This prosecution is being undertaken in line with those responsibilities. It would be inappropriate to comment further, other than to say that the progress of the case will be determined by the court.

The shameful Peter Hain could not be contacted for comment, but has said he found the location of the shop next to his constituency office "unacceptable". He probably was somewhat irked by the banner in the sex shop window: Vote Labour but not Peter Hain

Seriously though it is about time the British Government dealt with the tendancy towards council corruption being caused by the illegal and unnecessary sex shop licensing powers. If the videos being sold by Manca are of the same strength as legally available R18s then it is a gross abuse of human rights to prosecute without justification of the harm that would be otherwise be caused. The licensing powers should be immediately rescinded and replaced with a minimal set to enforce age restrictions.  No doubt until this occurs I will continue to report on abusive councils who continue to deny us our rights whilst persecuting people for selling perfectly legal produce.

From  This Is South Wales

The owner of a Neath store specialising in drugs paraphernalia and sex toys arrived for his court case before Neath magistrates in a stretched limousine sipping champagne. Piet Manca, who runs the Little Amsterdam store next door to Neath MP Peter Hain's constituency office in Windsor Road, stepped from the black stretched limo with three blonde women and a tall glass of champagne in his hand.

He was appearing before Neath magistrates on five charges of possessing adult videos for the purpose of supply which had not been given proper classifications by the BBFC, along with two other charges relating to supply of the videos.

Similar charges were also made against the Little Amsterdam company itself. Manca, aged 45, who gave an address in Blackpool, pleaded not guilty to all the charges. If found guilty, Manca could face fines of up to £20,000 or six months in prison.

The court accepted jurisdiction but Manca elected for the case to be heard before a jury at crown court.

The case was adjourned until November 3.

 

26th September

    Adam & Eve

Based on articles from  East Anglian Daily Times & The Evening Star

Nutters are campaigning to stop a sex shop being set up on an industrial estate. Adam and Eve's Emporium was originally earmarked for a location in the centre of Woodbridge's Thoroughfare - but planners advised the businessmen it was not a suitable location. Now they have chosen a unit formerly occupied by a t-shirt company off Border Cot Lane, Wickham Market.

Residents and companies warned yesterday the adults' only shop with lingerie, adult toys and R18 videos could attract the wrong type of people and devalue the area. (Who's going to listen to nutters who think they are better than sex shop customers and only care about their property prices?)

Traders on the small estate claimed Suffolk Coastal District Council had not given enough time for consultation. But a spokesman said three weeks had been given from September 15 to October 6 for comments - and the public would also have a 28-day period to make further comments if an application was made for a licence.

The parish church will hold a meeting to decide how to react. Claire Fuller, director of the Fullers company, said: The company and I are not narrow minded at all BUT ... my concern is that it will attract the wrong kind of people into our village. The security of our estate comes into question.

The enterprise is being set up by three partners: Jeremy Ellis, Vic Brand and John Mitchell. They have 3,500 people waiting to join. Ellis said: This is not a sex shop, it's a private club for adult members only and it will be private and confidential. It's not going to be on the high street because we do not want people walking off the street. We felt an industrial estate would work because our members would feel embarrassed if people could see them coming and going and we don't want to offend other people who would see the club if it was in a shopping street. I know there will be some people who will be against such a club, but people should come into the 21st century. There is sex on TV at 9pm. This club will be very strictly controlled.

Ellis said: We have checked that the site is not near any schools, playgroups, play areas or the church – they are all at the other end of the village. We looked at various sites and because this one is out of the way it is the most suitable one.

Suffolk Coastal District Council said today that planners were considering the application for a change of use for the industrial unit in Border Cot Lane and a decision could be made by councillors in October, but this was not guaranteed.

This would then enable Ellis, Brand and Mitchell to make an application for a sex shop licence – which will cost them £12,000 – to be heard by the licensing and health committee on November 25 or January 27.

Adam and Eve's Emporium will work on an appointment-only basis during the day but in the evenings members will be able to attend freely and the applicants hope it will remain open until 10pm each night. The main business at the site will be marketing and distribution of adult goods ordered via the company's web site, though members will be able to purchase gifts at the site. The 108 square metre shop will stock lingerie, adult toys and R18 videos. At the premises members will be shown into a lounge where they can meet other members and browse the catalogues before being shown to the shop.

 

26th September

    Dodgy Glasgow

Based on a biased article from The Scotsman Glasgow's reputation as a haven of morality was confirmed yesterday when the city rejected an attempt to open a licensed sex shop. (A misprint, I think it should read: Glasgow council's reputation as a haven of right abuse was confirmed yesterday when the city rejected an attempt to open a licensed sex shop. )

The application, by Darker Enterprises (Private Shops), an Essex-based company, sought permission to open the city's first sex shop in Gordon Street, a few metres from Central Station. The company which already operates 85 shops in England and Wales, is now considering legal action to overturn the decision made by the council's licensing sub-committee.

More than 450 objections were lodged, mainly against the proposed location of the shop (Sounds unlikely unless they were all coordinated, it would not be obvious to the majority of protestors that location is the only legal justification for refusal) . Protesters carrying placards made their objection in person outside the Burgh Court's Hall in Partick, where the sub- committee hearing took place.

The announcement, greeted with cheers by the demonstrators, followed a 35-minute debate behind closed doors by councillors. A spokeswoman for the council confirmed the decision reflected its "zero tolerance" approach to the operation of a licensed sex industry within the city boundary. (This is an admission of the corruption of their powers)

Following the decision, Clive Sullivan, the management consultant with Darker Enterprises and the older brother of the multi-millionaire David Sullivan, the publisher of the Daily Sport and Sunday Sport newspapers, said that he would continue to argue for a sex shop in Glasgow.

He added: I am disappointed that the council has decided to abdicate its responsibility. It has failed to take action in the best interests of its citizens. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland. It prides itself on being a good shopping area. If it does not provide people with a full range of services then it cannot make that claim. Sullivan said the company would be taking legal advice before considering its next move. Sullivan insists that Glasgow shoppers already have access via mail order outlets to the range of hardcore pornography, videos and DVDs, which would have been on sale in the shop.

Darker Enterprises will be told of the reasons for refusal by letter within the next seven days. It has already paid a non-returnable fee of more than £10,000 to the council to process its application.
The shameful councillor Malcolm McLean, the licensing applications sub-committee convener, said the decision to reject the Glasgow application was in the best interests of its citizens. He said: This was not a hard decision to make. We have always said that the appropriate number of these kind of shops for Glasgow is zero.

 

18th September

    Brum Bigots

This scrotty news source used the headline "sex shop victory", hardly unbiased reporting. I guess that some of the nutters haven't quite realised how popular sex shops have become. Do they now how many people they are thinking of as "anti social elements"? Probably their daughter's head teacher, their dentist and their grown up son.

So where is Birmingham's justification for this repression of liberty. In the absence of an justification I presume that they have put their own personal whims above their responsibility to obey the law.

Based on an incredibly biased article from ic Birmingham

Defiant nutters today celebrated after blocking a controversial scheme to open a sex shop. Campaigners said the bid to sell saucy lingerie and adult toys a stone's throw from the Birmingham school would have done nothing to stop the area's decline into a "sleazy suburb" of the city.

Licensing councillors last night rejected the scheme, ending a five year fight by neighbours who feared a plague of sex shops and massage parlours would drag Selly Oak into the gutter. (Instead it now has a reputation for being a haven of intolerant bigots)

The victory will be seen as a watershed for parents angry that their children watch clients getting in and out of sex shops and massage parlours on the Bristol Road as they wait for the bus. They are hoping the decision will mark a hardening of the city council's policy on licensing.

Inspector Peter Murphy, from Bournville Lane Police Station, said the granting of a licence for a sex shop would "fly in the face" of work being undertaken by the police, council and residents' groups. Children being taken to and from the nearby Tiverton Nursery School would have to run shoulders with sex shoppers and 'anti-social elements'.

Barrister Nageena Khalique, for the applicant Kevin Mitchell, urged the committee to "put out of your minds" outdated images of sex shops. Half of the customers using the shop would be women in search of adult lingerie, she said.

 

15th September

    Whinging to the Gallery

Isn't about time the nutters laid off the tired phrase 'children walk past every day'. It's about as sincere as a Government press office.

Based on an article from The Stockport Express

Nimby managers at Stockport's Plaza Theatre are hoping to stop a sex shop opening in Mersey Square near their venue. Nigel Anderton, chairman of the Plaza Theatre, said he had written to Stockport's licensing team to voice his bollox objections to the application. We are seeking to attract more children and young people to the Plaza and a sex shop next door just isn't appropriate. Mersey Square is home to the Hat Works and the Plaza, as well as being a gateway to the town and an adult shop should be placed in a discreet location, not in an area of high profile and attention. We also present a number of children's shows and events throughout the whole year. We feel the council should be concerned about placing an adult store close to key tourist sites and between the bus and train station.

'New Harmony' last month submitted an application to set up a sex establishment in an empty shop at 47 Mersey Square, near the Hat Works museum and Merseyway Shopping Centre.

The shameful Plaza box office manager Peter Johnson added: It's not for the Plaza to be for or against sex shops, [BUT...] we just believe the location is not right. Hundreds of children walk past every day.

A recent survey revealed Stockport's annual fee for sex shop licences was 608, the cheapest in Greater Manchester. Manchester Council charges around 5,000.

In June, licensing committee councillors granted permission for John Coughlan's 'Personal Lines' store in Great Portwood Street, but last month rejected an application by 'Simply Pleasure' for a sex shop in Castle Street shopping precinct, Edgeley.

A spokesman for Stockport Licensing said: The licensing section will put forward the application from 'New Harmony' and any objections, then members will consider the case on its own merits.

A decision will be made by the Licensing Committee on September 30.

 

14th September

    A Dodgy Judge or a Dodgy Story or a dodgy prosecutor

Sex and Fun Mit Harry is a bog standard hardcore series that would certainly be classified R18 by the BBFC. Somebody is telling porkies in this story. Given that the reporter has not picked up on any lurid details about extreme material then it seems likely that someone has been imprisoned for selling what is readily and legally  available. The prosecutors have therefore violated Kletsky's human rights and should be prosecuted themselves. Perhaps no-one has told the judge that hardcore is now legal.

From www.thisislocallondon.co.uk

A hard-up business studies student who peddled hardcore pornography videos from an unlicensed sex shop has been jailed for three months.

Anton Kletsky from North Finchley, was arrested in November last year after being caught stacking shelves of the shop in Kings Cross with videos such as Sex and Fun Mit Harry . He was released on bail, then re-arrested on January 20 when police raided the shop again and found 1,304 videos, 168 DVDs and a stash of magazines.

Andrew Copeland, prosecuting, told Southwark Crown Court: Two hundred and four of them were viewed and contained explicit material of an adult nature. Officers then sent six of these to the British Board of Film Classification who ruled they could not be awarded a certificate.

Upon his arrest, Russian-born Kletsky made full admissions and agreed he was in charge of the shop. He said he was forced to peddle blue movies after his father took away his allowance. Since the arrest he has since left the Pentonville Road shop.

Jailing him on Thursday, Judge Peter Fingret said: It must be made clear to you that those who peddle pornography are liable for imprisonment, particularly as these offences were committed while on bail for identical offences. These matters are so serious that only a custodial sentence can follow."

Kletsky had admitted five charges of publishing obscene articles and six of possessing unclassified videos [presumably with the qualification with intent to supply ].

I have since received clarification that the BBFC do not watch videos submitted by Trading Standards with view to commenting on their suitability for classification. They merely state whether the submitted videos have been classified or not.

The reported statement by the prosecutor "Officers then sent six of these to the British Board of Film Classification who ruled they could not be awarded a certificate"  therefore seems very dodgy. Perhaps even misleading and grounds for appeal.

 

10th September

    Councillors Cause Offence


Surely misuse of council power is a greater social ill than ever a sex shop can be and so must be far more offensive.

Based on an article from The Belfast Telegraph

Bigotry was growing today over a possible sex shop in a small Co Antrim market town, after a local council received an inquiry about the sale of hardcore pornographic videos.

Newtownabbey Council is now to adopt legislation to attempt to control the licensing of sex shops and sex cinemas to try and block such an establishment opening in Ballyclare. Local politicians today vowed to do all they can to stop any sex shop from being set up in the town regardless of their responsibility to the local population.

The Belfast Telegraph has learnt that four months ago Newtownabbey Council received an inquiry about the possible sale of R18 videos in an industrial estate in Ballyclare. R18 videos feature hardcore pornographic images which until recent years were banned in the UK. They can only be sold in a licensed sex shop.

At this week's Newtownabbey Council's environmental services committee meeting members decided to adopt laws which detail the licensing requirements, conditions and restrictions that may be placed on a sex shop licence and the mandatory and discriminatory grounds for refusal. Once the laws are adopted it will be a criminal offence for anyone to operate an unlicensed sex establishment in the borough.

A number of other district councils in Northern Ireland are currently adopting the same legislation. The DUP Mayor, Paul Girvan, said: We felt it would be better to safeguard ourselves so we can have some control over any possible application. There are a lot of practical problems associated with an establishment like this  (such as the temptation to mis-use council power)

UUP councillor nutter Jim Bingham said: Nobody wants to see this sort of establishment in our town. This is a quiet town and any sort of sex shop would cause embarrassment and offence.

Belfast, Derry and North Down councils have all previously run into difficulties after unlicensed sex shops opened in their area.

 

6th September

    Pathetic Justification in Basingstoke

Basingstoke councillors should be asked to prove the harm that would be caused if a shop was allowed near to accommodation for adults with learning disabilities, homes and pedestrians. If they fail to do this, or at least try, they should be imprisoned for corruption.

From This Is Hampshire

Council bosses have thrown out plans for Basingstoke's first-ever licensed sex shop - but they have advised the man behind the scheme that he may succeed if he finds a more suitable location.

The borough's licensing committee yesterday told Tim Hemming of ABS Holdings, the country's biggest distributor of adult material, that his application to open the shop in Queen's Parade failed because it was in the wrong location. Committee chairman Cllr Doris Jones said: I have every sympathy with the applicant. If the application for the licence was in a different location, my decision would be different. I'm absolutely certain that if you could find premises in another location, you would stand a better chance.

Hemming presented his case to the committee via his barrister who said he had more than 20 years' experience within the industry and owned 17 shops across the country. The committee heard Mr Hemming had tried hard to change the image of the sex shop from what it was 20 years ago, and that legislation in Parliament decreed licensed sex shops were legitimate businesses.

The committee heard Hemming's shops sell a diverse number of products, including magazines, books, videos, DVDs, and clothing, and had a range of customers - 30 to 50 per cent of whom are women.

Hemming's barrister said people therefore had to change their conceptions of who would frequent the shop. She explained: There's no reason why a bona fide customer cannot be a church-going, law abiding, intelligent person. She added Mr Hemming trained his staff to be extremely vigilant in ensuring that people under 18 were not allowed in the shop because if this happened he ran the risk of losing his licence. This in turn would have consequences for the rest of his businesses.

Despite the barrister's submission, the licensing committee voted unanimously to turn down the application. Basingstoke council's policy - which was revised in June, because the council feared it was open to a legal challenge - determined that sex shops should not be situated in an "inappropriate proximity".

Council officers deemed the Queen's Parade location was inappropriate for several reasons. The committee was told it was on the corner of Flaxfield Road, which is a residential street, is 44 metres from accommodation for adults with learning disabilities, and is on a pedestrian route from the Brookvale area into the Top of the Town which is used by children.

Cllr Jones said: The committee's concerns are about the location of the shop . The seven members heard there were 19 letters of objection to the application.

After the meeting, Mr Hemming told The Gazette: We will be definitely looking for more suitable premises. I look forward to seeing the licensing committee in the future.

 

2nd September

    Potential Corruption

I loved the argument: a shop selling goods of an explicit nature would be inappropriate as the Quay had the potential to be turned into a leisure area. If the council use this reason then they must surely be marched off to the prison for human rights abusers.

Based on an article in the Carmarthen Journal

The company behind plans to open a sex shop on Carmarthen's riverfront is launching an appeal after being turned down by the county council. Conegate Ltd of 26 Thames Road, Barking, Essex, is hoping the Planning Inspectorate will overturn Carmarthenshire Council's decision for a change of use of The Stores on the Quay.

The appeal hearing will be held on September 30 and a decision should be reached within five or six weeks. If it fails, Conegate Ltd could take the fight to the High Court.

The Journal exclusively revealed the plans to open a sex shop close to one of Carmarthen's main gateways back in April. It caused a storm of protest amongst the town's nutters. Locals said that a shop selling goods of an explicit nature would be inappropriate as the Quay had the potential to be turned into a leisure area for water sports.

The county council turned down the planning application for a change of use of the former tool hire shop into a retail unit back in May. Carmarthenshire Council's development control manager Stuart Owen told the planning committee that a small retail store might be acceptable, but only if it was part of a major re-development of the Quayside area.

Head of public protection Philip Davies confirmed an appeal against the decision of the committee had been launched. He said: The applicants are exercising their right to appeal against the decision by the county to turn down their planning application for a change of use for the premises.

The application for a licence to run the sex shop was submitted by Darker Enterprises Ltd. A spokeswoman for Darker Enterprises told the Journal that they still wanted to open a shop in Carmarthen. She said: Conegate are appealing the decision. Our application is still lodged with Carmarthenshire Council and we are waiting for them to come up with a date for the hearing.

 

2nd September

    Young Enterprisers

From IC Wales

The owner of a sex shop located next door to the constituency office of Welsh Secretary Peter Hain has created a legal conundrum by making his 15-year-old son the sole director of his company and his 13-year-old daughter the company secretary.

Piet Manca, who opened Little Amsterdam next to Hain's office in Windsor Road, Neath, last December, is fighting 14 allegations made against him and his firm by the trading standards department of Neath and Port Talbot Council.

The businessman, who was born locally but until recently ran a similar shop in Blackpool, claims he is being victimised because his premises are an embarrassment to the politician and his staff.

Little Amsterdam sells sex aids and paraphernalia associated with recreational drugs. Manca is planning to open a similar shop in Aberystwyth on October 1, and runs an associated website that sells goods by mail order.

Neath Port Talbot Council's trading standards department alleges that unlicensed videos called Bi-American, Dreams, Stories of Seduction, 7 The Hardway and Hardcore Training were sold from the Neath shop on specified dates in March and April this year. Two further charges allege that videos were sold purporting to have an 18 certificate when in fact no such certificates were held. All seven charges have been issued against Manca personally and against the company Little Amsterdam Ltd. (So are the council proving the harm that these videos would cause as required by the European Convention of Human Rights?)

Manca said, The company has been dormant since I set it up several years ago in Blackpool. My former partner Hayley Lewis was the director and her mother Ena Price the company secretary. There are only two 1 shares and they each owned one of them.

Now papers have been signed to make my son Antony, 15, the sole director and my daughter Laura, 13, the company secretary. The point of this is to give them some financial security in the future. But it also makes a nonsense of the charges brought against the company. The council won't be able to pursue them in court.

Both my children get 40 a week pocket money and they do some bookkeeping work for the business. I checked out the legal position and found there was no minimum age for a company director. All the charges will be defended. I believe we are being victimised because we happen to be next to Peter Hain's office. Our's is a legitimate business. We do not sell unlicensed videos from the shop - the material found by the trading standards officers were samples we had been sent by suppliers.

When people buy from our website they are sent their items from the Netherlands, so we are breaking no laws.

Through the Federation of Small Businesses we are engaging Rowe Cohen, top solicitors from Manchester who have represented the family of Stephen Lawrence and Mohammed Al Fayed. We don't want to go to a local magistrates court, we want to be tried in a crown court before a jury.

A spokesman for Neath Port Talbot Council said, We wholly reject the suggestion that we are in some way targeting this shop because of its proximity to the MP's office. We have regulatory responsibilities and take those very seriously. This prosecution is being undertaken in line with those responsibilities. It would be inappropriate to comment further, other than to say that the progress of the case will be determined by the court.

The shameful Peter Hain could not be contacted for comment, but has said he found the location of the shop next to his constituency office "unacceptable".

A spokesman for Companies House in Cardiff confirmed there was no lower age limit for company directors.

 

15th August

    Belfast's Human Rights Abuse Challenged

From the Ireland On Line

The long-running dispute between Belfast City Council and the owners of the city's sex shops has taken a new twist.

It has emerged that a second shop owner is to appeal against the council's blanket ban on sex shops.

Belfast council is trying to prevent any sex shop from operating in the city although several have been doing so, apparently illegally, for many years.

The council has the power to designate one area where they can operate, but has instead tried to impose a total ban.

Last month, the would-be manager of one sex shop was granted leave for a judicial review of the council's ban.

Now a second would-be manager, of a shop called Mis Behavin, has also been grated leave for a judicial review of the council's refusal to issue a licence.

One of the grounds on which Mr Justice Weatherup granted leave was that two unidentified religious groups had objected to the licence, but Miss Behavin Ltd had not been informed about them.
 

 

1st August

    Banbury's Cross

From the Banbury Guardian

In December the Banbury Guardian revealed that Private XXX, in Bridge Street, had been trading illegally since 1999. This came to light after a Banbury Guardian reporter discovered the shop intended to move to new premises in West Bar, near the historic Banbury Cross.

Following mounting pressure from the public, Saffraz Bhatti, landlord of the premises, evicted the illicit traders in January. But last week a new shop opened its doors only yards from the site of the former shop. It is located through an alleyway on Bridge Street, opposite the town council offices and Castle Quay.

A hand painted sign above the door and a wooden sandwich board advertising 'DVDs, videos, poppers, toys and mags,' mark its arrival.

One local business owner alerted the Banbury Guardian to the shop's opening but did not want to be named.
She said: I can't believe it, I've owned a business here for 10 months and things were going really well. But this is bound to drive customers away. It looks tacky and drags down the image of the area.

When the Banbury Guardian visited the Private shop on Tuesday only one member of staff was present and he refused to answer any questions. It is believed the owner of the property lives in Cyprus. Chartered surveyors White Mitchell are currently selling the building but any buyer would have to take on its current leases. Chris White is a partner at White Mitchell and is also chairman of the Banbury and District Chamber of Commerce.
He said: It will certainly make the property harder to sell because an unlicensed sex shop is obviously not an ideal tenant. As far as the image of the town goes it is definitely bad news. In bigger towns it might be acceptable as it could be kept away from the main shopping area. But this shop is right in the heart of Banbury. It will harm the town's image and it won't help when we are trying to attract quality businesses.

Brian Potter, manager at the new Private shop, told the Banbury Guardian that the business is currently unlicensed but is in the process of applying to the council. He had no connection with the old shop and intended to buy the premises. We have had a good response and there is obviously a market for in the town otherwise we wouldn't be here. Obviously some people will object to it but we are trying to be as discreet as possible.

 

31st  July

    Wrecking Crewe

Based on a biased article in The Sentinel

Religious nutters are preparing to fight plans for a sex shop in Crewe town centre. Some residents said that the proposed sex shop at a former jewellery store on Market Street is totally inappropriate on one of the main routes into the town, passed by hundreds of shoppers and visitors every day.

If allowed, it would be the second sex shop in Crewe,  a few hundred yards down the road from an existing one on Edleston Road.

The full licence application will be heard by Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council on Tuesday, where 40 objections have been received.

The Reverend Rob Wykes, of Crewe Christian Concern, said the shop would be "wholly inappropriate" on the busy Market Street. He said many families were concerned about the nature of goods planned to be sold in the shop, including restricted-sale pornographic videos. He said: Obviously, this would be in completely the wrong place. On one Saturday we counted that in just 45 minutes more than 450 people walked past the door of the proposed shop, and they included mums with young children. (So do these bigots ever suggest a better place!)

The Reverend Geoffrey Willetts, of West Street Baptist Church, added: Crewe already has one sex shop and we don't believe it needs any more. We also object on moral grounds, although we know the council cannot reject the application on that. Ladies are made in the image of God and they're not things or items, they need to be valued as more than that. We also believe it's awfully sad when people want to make money out of people's weaknesses . (Lets hope that that Willetts isn't made in the image of God, I would hate to think that God was a bitter individual who would deny sexual pleasure to others)

A spokesman for Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council's regulatory committee said the council cannot take into account moral or religious objections or try to control what is sold or hired within a sex shop.

The council is only allowed to refuse a sex shop licence if the applicant is deemed unsuitable, the number of sex shops in the area is above the number the authority deems suitable or the grant of the licence would be inappropriate in the locality or due to the layout of the premises.

 

30th  July

    Stuffed in Lowestoft

From EDP 24

Campaigners who battled against a second sex shop in Lowestoft were rejoicing recently after permission was refused for the store. Heritage groups and councillors had complained that the new shop – planned for Commercial Road, yards from an existing store – was unnecessary and would have been too visible. And on Wednesday, members of Waveney District Council's licensing committee rejected the application.

The store would have stood opposite a new supermarket and next door to a fish and chip shop.

Last night Ann Ford, the councillor for Harbour ward which includes Commercial Road, supported the panel's decision: I would not have wanted to see another shop there. As far as I am concerned, one is more than enough.

But Robert Dalgleish, the man behind the Big Red Adult Store, said the rejection only protected a monopoly. The people of Lowestoft deserve choice, have two shops or have none – don't just have one. Mr Dalgleish promised to appeal against the refusal.

During the meeting, members of the licensing committee were told that moral or religious considerations could not be reasons to refuse the application. But committee members said the location of the shop made it inappropriate to grant a licence, despite assurances from Mr Dalgleish that the outside of the shop, with a red and white sign, would be neither "conspicuous" nor "garish".

(The committee clearly have neglected to take onboard the requirement not to allow their own personal considerations to override their duty. I don't think being next to a chippy and opposite a supermarket constitutes any sort of justifiable reason at all. To constrain free speech requires a proper justification of the harm that would otherwise occur if they allowed the store to trade. The licensing committee should be examined  to see if they have failed in their public duty to follow the law).

 

28th  July

    Norwich Council Offended by Gadgets

From The Norwich Evening News

The word "gadget" has proved too hot to handle for prudish council nutters who have told a sex shop to tone down a new advert.

Sarah Price, of Sinsin's Lovestore in Norwich, wanted the slogan Gifts, goodies & gadgets for yourself, your friends & your lovers emblazoned on the side of a rainbow-coloured Hackney cab.

But officials from Norwich City Council would only approve the design if the word gadget was removed — fearing it could offend easily offended nutters.

Despite having to redraft the proposal, Sarah Price said she held no hard feelings against the council. They said they didn't like the word. We questioned it, but we don't want to make an enemy of the council. It isn't a seedy word. You would think they would get more upset about the word 'lovers'. It is more amusing than anything."

City Hall spokesman Boyd Taylor said: Advertising on Hackney cabs, by its very nature, is seen by all members of the community and in a very public arena. It was considered that the original advert was inappropriate bearing in mind the range of its possible audience.

 

26th  July

    Undesirable Protestors

From The Richmod and Twickenham Times

Customers visiting a Richmond shop selling novelty sex toys among other items may be met by a crowd of activist residents and traders who plan weekly protests outside the premises, it was announced this week.

In our issue of July 11 Seamus Joy, the chief nutter of Molly Malone's pub on Kew Road, said that "undesirables" had already been seen in the area following the opening of 111 Kew Road as Private Lines, a shop selling a bizarre mix of goods ranging from "starter bondage kits" and top shelf magazines to more ordinary items such as Disney videos.

Joy said he had refused to serve "the trench coat brigade" and residents and traders on Kew Road have expressed strong opposition to the new shop collecting a petition of around 1,000 signatures.

This week a leaflet was distributed to homes on Kew Road campaigning to close the "sex shop" and advertising a public meeting on July 28 at 7pm in the vice president's room at London Welsh RFC, to be attended by councillors Marc Cranfield Adams and Tony Tresigne and "other supporters".

Jane Bykins, one of the nutters heading the campaign, said that at the meeting residents and traders will speak about their feelings regarding the shop. She said: We will also be discussing the process of applying for a full sex shop licence as we understand the business plan to do. One plans is to have people standing outside the shop every Friday evening and all day Saturday as those are the times that would best suit the activists.

She did say that the shop did not seem to be much frequented so far. In addition she said they were planning to submit a question on the matter to the council at their meeting of September 30.

Although 111 Kew Road is not licensed to operate as a sex shop, the protest group imagine that it has plans to do so and that the council would, as a condition of granting one, ask that it opaque the windows. We have been made aware from looking at the company and its operations that they tend to open shops on an unlicensed basis and give them garish window displays but it would appear from their other shops that after applying for a licence the windows are opaqued out and the shops are painted black.

A spokesman for Richmond upon Thames Council said the premises currently do not require a sex shop licence. He said: If the position changed and a licence was required, applied for and granted, then conditions could be imposed. Such conditions might include matters to do with external appearance or window displays. The council is well aware of residents' views on this matter and we have kept them closely informed about the legal position. However, the business is a lawful one, and we will continue to monitor the premises to ensure that the shop operates within the legislation enforced by the council."

 

25th  July

    No sex, please ... we're Biggleswade

From Bedford Today

School and church leaders have hit out at a new adult shop on their doorstep.

St Andrew's Lower School, which is located just a stone's throw away from Dominion of Pleasure in Biggleswade, wrote to the town council after some of their parents and governors raised concerns.

They said: At a recent meeting of the governors, concerns were expressed by some parents and governors about the proximity of this type of shop to our school and the people it might attract to the area.

Mid Beds District Council's licensing officer has visited the premises, which is not a sex shop and found its owners were doing nothing wrong. Coun David Lawrence said that the school and the Methodist Church, based nearby, had asked them to look into the situation. Coun Lawrence said: We wrote to the school to say that the situation has been checked and is being monitored. Be concerned, but we are keeping an eye on it on your behalf.

But both the school and the church declined to comment further, saying they did not want to give the shop any publicity.

The shop is located off Brunts Lane and none of its merchandise is visible from the outside. A sign just inside the front door by the stairs that lead up into the shop clearly states that under 21s will not be admitted.

Owner Mark Wyman told the Chronicle that any parents with concerns were welcome to visit the shop for a tour to allay their fears. He said: We have had one of the governors in. They were concerned that we might be selling pornography or that there might be images that would be in view of the children. We have also been visited by the planning department, the police and the environmental health and nobody has made any derogatory comments of any kind. It is all very very silly, it is all a fuss about nothing.

Dominion of Pleasure sells club and fetish style clothing and some sex toys but does not carry any pornographic material.

 



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