The Scottish Government ran a consultation from 1st November 2017 to 7th of February 2018 asking for opinions on allowing
councils to adopt a licensing regime for lap dancing venues in their area. This seems to be based on the licensing regime already in place in England and Wales.
The Government received 31 responses which it has just published. The Government will now consider these before publishing sits final guidance on the subject.
Lap dancing clubs could be banished from council areas across Scotland under new plans being pushed forward by ministers.
A new licensing regime would hand local authorities greater powers to ban or restrict the number of sexual entertainment venues in their area.
But of course this is not enough for some strident feminist groups that have called for politicians to go further and implement an outright ban across Scotland. Violence Against Women Partnerships (VAWP) insisted the Scottish Government should
work with councils to outlaw lap-dancing clubs.
Cosla, which represents local government and lobbies on its behalf, responded to a consultation on the proposalssaying it was very difficult to see how a commitment to eradicating violence against women and girls could sit alongside the licensing
of sexual entertainment venues.
But venue operators said it was unfair and untrue to imply that lap-dancing is a form of violence against women. Brightcrew, operators of Platinum Lace in Glasgow , argued its performers are all strong, independent, talented women who choose
to work in sexual entertainment. It added:
It is a well-remunerated occupation. It is a form of performance. It provides great flexibility in terms of hours and days of work, meaning that performers can work when they like, ensuring that they can find a balance between their work and
other demands on their time, be it family, other work or studies.
The Scottish Government said it would consider the consultation responses before bringing in new rules. A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: Licensing of sexual entertainment venues does not seek to ban lap dancing or strip clubs but to allow
local licensing authorities to decide what is right for their area. The Scottish Government accepts the freedom of adults to engage in legal activities and employment.
Researchers from the University of Kent and Middlesex University have said that Soho is under threat from gentrification
and corporatisation that threatens to rob it of what makes it so special.
Their study explains how the area is being sanitised with the number of licensed sex shops in the area declining from more than 50 to just 12. These are slowly being concentrated in just a small area and almost all such venues in Soho are now
located within a small half-a-mile block.
The process of gentrification in this area has further marginalised already vulnerable groups (including homeless populations and sex workers) and the sanitisation of the area means that many populations who have lived and worked in this area for
generations will no longer be able to part of the Soho community.
Feminist campaigners in Sheffield have won a legal case claiming that the local council failed to consider the impact on the community when it licensed
a strip club, paving the way for activists across the country to challenge similar venues.
In a judicial review in Leeds high court, campaigners argued the council had only considered the impact on women and gender equality at the branch of Spearmint Rhino, and had failed in its legal obligation to consider the impact on the wider
community -- the so-called public sector equality duty.
The council conceded partway through the case that it had not consulted properly, and must now go back to the drawing board.
The new consultation exercise could lead to Spearmint Rhino being forced out of Sheffield. However, the council said the strip club operator's current licence still stands and would not be removed as a result of the court case.
The judge in the case, Mrs Justice Philippa Whipple, criticised the council, saying it was the second time its policy on strip clubs had been successfully challenged in court. This is the second judicial review the council has conceded on the same
issue, and conceded on public sector equality duties grounds on both occasions, she said. That is disappointing. I hope council will take it seriously.
Surely everything will have to be banned if such logic is allowed to stand, after all restaurants and take aways contribute to wider obesity issues, pubs contribute to wider health issues, mobile devices contribute to no end of wider societal
issues and most forms of transport contribute to wider climate issues.
Spearmint Rhino, which has been on Brown Street in Sheffield for more than 15 years, has applied for
its sexual entertainment venue licence to be renewed.
And now the local university, Sheffield Hallam, has decided to initiate a morality campaign against the venue.
A Sheffield Hallam University spokesperson claimed the club could seriously undermine its multimillion-pound masterplan for the area.
However not all university students follow the intolerance extreme and PC that once has come to expect from academia. A female student who wrote to support the application said removing a safe workplace for women is irresponsible. She said:
Removing a safe workplace for a great many women without consulting with them or whether that is what they want and need is irresponsible at best and at worst will cause direct harm.
However the university said students walk past around the clock and are entitled to feel safe and secure. A spokesperson also claimed it undermines equality and diversity.
Councillors are due to consider the club's application on 19 June.
Update: Women protest in support of Spearmint Rhino
A Sheffield lap dancing club has had its operating licence renewed despite dozens of objections from feminists on morality grounds.
Spearmint Rhino, on Brown Street, has operated for 15 years without trouble and the chair of licensing, councillor David Barker, said there was no evidence of poor practices at the club. Granting the licence, Barker said:
There was a very strong case against sexual entertainment in general from the objectors. However, we could find no strong evidence of poor practices or detrimental impact on the local area arising from the operation of the club.
Offsite article: Trashy Swerfs in Licence Objection Failure
Peter Stringfellow, noted lap dancing club owner, has died aged 77 of lung cancer.
He started his career is nightclub management in 1962 in Sheffield. He started by renting St. Aidan's Church Hall in Sheffield every Friday night, operating the Black Cat Club, booking some notable bands at the time. He worked his way upwards with
ever bigger nightclubs featuring ever more famous bands.
n 1986, he opened Stringfellow's New York which was frequented by New York celebrities. In 1989, he opened Stringfellow's Miami, and then Stringfellow's Los Angeles in 1990.
In 1990, Stringfellow introduced table dancing to his New York club with a licensing deal with Michael J. Peters. This became Stringfellow's Presents Pure Platinum. In 1996, Cabaret of Angels, a table-side dancing club was opened for three nights
a week at Stringfellow's Covent Garden.
In 2006, Stringfellow opened his second adult entertainment club named Angels in Wardour Street, Soho. He was the first club owner to gain a fully nude licence from Westminster City Council. In 2009, he criticised the Policing and Crime Act 2009,
saying the licensing changes with regards to lap dancing were unnecessary and he would be appealing to the European Court of Human Rights if his current licences were not renewed.
In 2012, he was granted the necessary Sexual entertainment venues (SEV) Licence for Stringfellow's Covent Garden and Angels Soho, and was able to successfully market Angels as providing rooms for the entertainment in privacy of young women in
Stringfellow's Covent Garden is still operating and will continue to feature table side dancing.
Feminist campaigners have been granted a judicial review against Sheffield's strip club licensing
The review has been brought by a Sheffield resident referred to as Irene. Activists backing her case launched a CrowdJustice crowdfunding campaign on Thursday to cover the legal costs.
A Judicial Review examines whether official bodies followed correct and legal procedures eg when making licensing decisions.
It seems that moralist campaigners feel that the council should consider wider impact on women and gender equality, rather than just the wellbeing of those specifically affected by the Sheffield club.
The outcome could of course affect clubs and councils nationwide.
In a statement accusing the council of ignoring important evidence, the Time's Up For Strip Clubs Coalition claims:
Sheffield have said they only have to consider the impact on women working in the club, women customers or 'vulnerable people' in the local area. In fact, the council has a legal duty to consider the negative impact on all women when deciding on
a policy like this.
Spearmint Rhino, which has been open for 16 years and is the only strip club in Sheffield, is an interested party in the judicial review and so get a chance to air their views in the case.
Peachez lap dancing club has been refused planning permission and deemed totally inappropriate - six months after it is believed to have
The club has planning permission to operate as a nightclub but the council deemed it required planning permission to operate as a nightclub offering table dancing.
Wirral Council did not offer a particular reason beyond a moral objection to lap dancing and deeming this to be 'inappropriate'.
Councillors heard a moral objection from Josephine Wood a feminist campaigner from the Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre. Her statement said it was unbelievable the plans were being considered for a development promoting objectification and
sexualisation of women for male titillation and 'pleasure'.
The refusal, which is subject to appeal, now means the club will be issued an enforcement notice requiring it to become a nightclub once more.
Lap dancing has been banned from Cheltenham after local feminists persuaded the council that feminist morality
An application for sexual entertainment venue licence at the Fantasy Club, 12-14 Bath Road was rejected.
About 20 objections were lodged against lap dancing club plan. The licensing committee voted 3-1 to refuse the application on the grounds that the premises were in a supposedly inappropriate location.
The committee heard objections from an opposition alliance made up of Councillor Flo Lucas, St Paul's Residents' Association Chair Tess Beck and Lesley Painter of local feminist group, Chelt Fems. Painter argued that Cheltenham Borough Council
should follow in the steps of high-profile international organisations such as Formula 1, who axed scantily clad grid girls from their events last year.
This is the first time in three year's that the The Fantasy Club has been refused a licence. The club was granted a licence for lap dancing in 2017 and 2016.
Update: Occasional opening and the occasion is the horse racing festival
The owners of Swindon's two lap dancing clubs have protested against mierbale new rules being imposed by
the council. It is feared that new rules could destroy the viability of the clubs threatening 105 jobs.
Foxies and Dream Lounge, both based at Regent Circus, have lodged objections to a new council licence conditions for sex establishments.
Under the new policies, club bosses are asked to ensure that no performer dance nude or semi-nude unless a floor supervisor is within five metres of the dancer. And dancers are banned from straddling customers or touching them below the chest.
Borough councillors agreed to adopt national licence arrangements for gentlemen's clubs and sex shops in late 2016.
In documents filed with the borough's licensing team, club bosses say that: n Strict rules govern relationships between dancers and customers, with CCTV, security patrols and clear lines of sight through clubs ensuring dancers' safety.
The protests are expected to be discussed at an upcoming meeting of the borough's licensing committee.
An anonymous Sheffield feminist is taking the council to court after they said their should be no
limit on the number of sexual entertainment venues in the city.
A woman using the fake name of Irene Gladdison has raised nearly £5,000 in order to launch her legal challenge to over turn the policy.
A draft council report published in December 2016 said there would be a a limit of two strip clubs in Sheffield. Sheffield currently has Spearmint Rhino in the city centre and La Chambre swingers club in Attercliffe. It is a bit confusing as only
Spearmint Rhino can be considered a strip club. So it is a bit confusing as to whether the limit is based on number of licenses or number of strp clibs.
Anyway after further consultation the two-club limit was deleted.
I'm a 54 year old grandmother, with five grandchildren. A lifelong feminist and a proud Sheffielder. I refuse to be cowed by the city council and allow them to 'OK' the sexual objectification of our girls. Because we will never have an end to
the 'President's Club' attitudes when men can buy women as sexual entertainment at strip clubs.
'Gladdison' is backed by campaign group Not Buying It. She is being represented by lawyer Louise Whitfield who claimed:
The law is very clear that if a particular issue is highly relevant for gender equality, a public body must look very carefully at any negative impact on women.
Unfortunately, the council has taken a very narrow approach and only considered extremely limited evidence about the adverse effect these clubs have on women performers. We hope that as before, the council will recognise their errors and agree
to think again. If not, my client has no choice but to pursue her legal challenge.
Lap dancing clubs, sex shops and sex cinemas numbers in England have fallen by a third in the past five years.
The BBC England Data Unit sent Freedom of Information requests to all local councils responsible for issuing sex establishment licences with 281 out of 327 responding to how many they had issued. The total number of ex establishment licences
issued by councils dropped from 386 in 2013 to 256 in 2018.
The figures reveal the number of sex establishment licences rose between 2011 and 2013 as lap dancing clubs had to apply for new licences after the introduction of the Police and Crime Act 2009. Previously, such clubs had been regulated under laws
designed to control pubs and nightclubs. Since 2013 the number of active licences has declined every year.
The data supplied by local authorities shows no major city in England has seen an increase in the number of sexual entertainment licences since 2013.
They also suggest the number of active licences has fallen by two-thirds in London. The local authority area of Westminster which takes in Soho, an area synonymous with the British sex industry, has seen the biggest fall in the number of active
licences, from 31 in 2013 to four at the beginning of 2018.
Westminster Council has shut down the Windmill table dancing club after an anonymous feminist group
hired private detectives to snitch on no touch rules being broken for private dnances.
The club has 21 days to appeal.
The Windmill is a relic of the area's colourful past as it was previously the venue hosted a long running erotic show.
The Sun visited The Windmill this week to find its glory days are long gone. Low lighting hides stained carpets and scuffed leather seats. On the stage, Eastern European dancers swayed moodily to music. The Sun noted that a private dance costs
£40, and a bottle of Becks beer £8.
Offsite Comment: putting women out of work is about the most un-feminist thing possible.
I've been dancing in strip clubs since 2006, and I query the method and motives behind campaigns to shut down clubs. Closing down a venue may feel like a victory to those who champion the abolition of the industry, but taking work away from women
relying on it is tantamount to taking food from our mouths. Thousands of girls who otherwise have less value in the wider job market (foreign nationals, single mums, anyone with any sort of disadvantaged background) are turning to stripping and
other forms of sex work to survive. According to the English Collective of Prostitutes, record numbers have moved into the sex industry under austerity, which disproportionately affects women, particularly single mothers. In fact, putting women
out of work is about the most un-feminist thing possible.
The move against Windmill Club came after a women's rights group complained the club was breaching conditions banning physical contact between dancers and clients.
The group had hired former police officers to collect evidence and one of them described how a dancer rubbed herself up and down on him and touched him intimately. He also said the dancer paid the security guard 2£10 to look the other way.
The Soho Society said it was concerned women working for the Windmill may end up in a working environment where they are even more vulnerable than they are at present.