A fourth lap dancing club will open along Birmingham's Golden Mile after city licensing chiefs dismissed supposed fears it would
be a magnet for rowdy stag parties.
The Boujee Rooms on Broad Street, currently an upstairs nightclub, can now put on strip, pole and lap dancing shows 24 hours a day.
Key to the club winning the approval of Birmingham City Council's licensing committee was the lack of police objection, making a claim it would increase anti-social behaviour hard to support.
Boujee Rooms now follows the established Rocket Club and Legs 11 nightspots and the recently opened Cyclone club next door offering lap dancing.
Owner Sidney Taylor, who owns nine licensed premises including the Legs 11 club, said: I am delighted. We work with police and council to ensure our clubs are well run and trouble-free.
His lawyer, Sarah Clover, had earlier told the committee that there have never been formal complaints or objections to any of Taylor's other premises. She said: There is no evidence for the objections. They are all based on the claim it will lower
Business and residents groups including the City Centre Partnership, The Broad Street Bid and the City Centre Neighbourhood Forum opposed the club.
Gordon Keen, manager of the Walkabout bar and chairman of Broad Street Pubwatch, said: If you increase the number of lap dancing clubs, you increase the number of males coming to the Street. It might be good for business in some ways but it will increase
public order problems. We have tried to encourage more females and students and stopped promotions at weekends to reduce this element.
Business leaders have lost a legal battle to stop another strip club on Birmingham's Broad Street.
A judge decided the Boujee Rooms could continue to run a 24-hour lap dancing operation – the ninth sex establishment in the Golden Mile entertainment quarter – after rejecting Birmingham City Council's appeal.
The decision was condemned by directors of the Broad Street Business Improvement District (BID), who brought the appeal claiming the seedy nature of strip clubs encouraged prostitution and crime.
Already many of our members, who are made up of the bars, restaurants, offices and hotels, have told us they are dismayed at the decision. We have reconfirmed our opinion that any further matter will be pursued within the framework of the current
The number of lap dancing and strip clubs in Birmingham could be halved under new powers adopted by Birmingham City
Council licensing chiefs.
It means that club owners could be put through what a licensing lawyer has described as a beauty parade to see which ones get the licence and which ones have to cover up.
Birmingham's 15-strong licensing committee is currently split over what limit to set on sex entertainment venues. It meets on November 17 to set the cap.
Many feel that the dozen or so currently allowed in Birmingham is too many and expect a limit of about six to be set. Others believe that quality gentlemen's clubs are part of a modern city nightlife.
Labour group licensing spokeswoman Barbara Dring (Oscott) thinks a cap is needed, but is unsure at which level. She said: We have just granted two licenses on Broad Street and there could be dozen more in the pipeline so this change has come at the
right time. A cap is needed otherwise we could end up with our own version of Soho.
Other committee members are ready to push for half-a-dozen. One suggestion is a couple on Broad Street, a couple near the Arcadian and a couple elsewhere.
Such a move would lead to the dozen strip clubs competing for the six licenses next year. Solicitor Andrew Potts, at a recent licensing hearing likened the competition to a beauty parade .
Committee chairman David Osborne (Lib Dem, South Yardley) does not believe that a limit is necessary and wants to judge every club on its merits. He said: I am delighted that we have adopted this new legislation. I am not sure how
happy the industry are going to be about it.
We can now consider moral objections, economic issues such as impact on other businesses and take representations from a wider area. I know there are those who would prefer no lap dancing clubs at all. My thoughts are that if we
have a cap, we could box ourselves in. It would be better to be flexible but I am willing to be persuaded otherwise.
A draft version of the new council policy to restrict and control strip clubs, or sexual entertainment venues as they are officially known, has rejected the chance to set a quota for Birmingham.
But a significant number of committee members, including Labour spokeswoman Barbara Dring and several Conservative members, support a cap.
At present Birmingham has about a dozen licensed strip clubs, including five on Broad Street, but supporters of a cap would like to see that number halved.
Officials, backed by Liberal Democrat chairman David Osborne, believe that not setting a limit will give them greater control and allow them to judge each venue on its own merits. Coun Osborne (Lib Dem, South Yardley) said: I have been to a conference
with leading licensing lawyers who say that it is better to not set a cap, because it might fetter our future decisions. This way we have total discretion to judge each club on its own.
Broad Street businesses pleaded for a limit on the number of lap dancing and strip clubs allowed to operate in the city centre. They claim that a recent flurry of applications for new venues would deter investment and harm the city's reputation. But of
course they have commercial interests in keeping competition under control.
They have called for a total limit of two clubs in Broad Street to be included in the city council's new policy on sexual entertainment venues even though there are currently four operating in the area.
Birmingham's licensing committee was split over whether or not to set a city-wide limit, compromised on guideline limits for various localities including Broad Street and Hurst Street. A limit on the number of clubs will be set in the next few months
The new licensing powers, which will come into force on January 3, 2011, gives the committee greater freedom to reject strip club licenses and the ability to set higher license fees. The proposed fee for a new licence is £9,935 and £5,070 for
a renewal or variation.
The draft policy states that sites near residential areas, shopping centres frequented by families, tourist attractions, places frequently visited by families such as schools, swimming pools and parks and places of worship are inappropriate.
The policy comes into force on January 3 and the new licenses will be decided and awarded in July 2011. Existing venues will be allowed to continue until January 3, 2012.
A deal on setting limits for lap dancing clubs in Birmingham has been struck – but city licensing chiefs are still unsure what, if any limit should be.
Under the deal they agreed that there should be guideline limits for certain localities such as Broad Street, Hurst Street or Moseley, but will set the limits in future.
Nutters have lobbied hard for the committee to halve the number of clubs on Birmingham's Golden Mile from four to two. But the committee was warned by chairman David Osborne that they face costly judicial review if they set an arbitrary limit. He said:
These venues rake in money, enough to fund a judicial review whereas the council is cash-strapped.
Councillor Bob Beauchamp thought that no limit was needed as they already have unimaginable power to refuse clubs.
The Birmingham Royal Ballet (BRB) is leading objections to an application to open a new strip club
in the city, 150m from the side entrance to the Hippodrome Theatre.
The ballet fears that young dancers, as well as children who take part in workshops, will be exposed to undesirables by having lap dancing nearby at Scarlets Gentlemen's Club on Horsefair.
In a letter to the council's licensing committee, the ballet said: We feel that the introduction of an sexual entertainment venue in such close proximity presents an unnecessary danger to young people, many of whom are extremely vulnerable.
And BRB chief executive Christopher Barron said: ort many forms of entertainment ...BUT... we feel an adult entertainment establishment of this kind, so close to a venue that attracts family audiences and young people, would not be
in keeping with the current environment that encourages people of Birmingham and their families to the area.
[What a load of bollox!, The 'current environment that encourages people of Birmingham and their families to the area', is in fact one of the binge drinking areas of Birmingham city centre, not to mention being the gay zone of
Also objecting on the same grounds are the Hippodrome Theatre and Dance Xchange. Hippodrome chief executive Stuart Griffiths is claiming that the site is the wrong place for a strip club: The proposed location in Thorp Street is very close to
public entrances to the theatre where children and families access the theatre, he said. For this reason we feel it would be inappropriate.
Scarlets owner Michelle Monaghan is also hoping to secure permission to introduce pole dancing, stripping and lap dancing at another venue, Mischkas at The Cyclone Club on Broad Street. Ms Monaghan said that she has eight years' experience running
night spots, is well aware of her responsibilities and has consulted police on crime and security matters for both venues.
Scarlets is one of eight strip clubs hoping to secure a license under Birmingham City Council's new lap dancing policy. It is the only one to have attracted formal objections. The owners of all eight clubs will appear before the licensing committee
on Wednesday. Other applicants include established Legs 11 branches at the Arcadian and Broad Street, Medusa in Suffolk Street, The Rocket Club, Broad Street and Spearmint Rhino in Hagley Road. Club Diamond, hopes to open in Holloway Head.
Birmingham City councillor Nigel Dawkins has called for the sex establishments not to be allowed to use
pornographic images on their websites.
Since last January, lap dancing clubs have had to apply for a Sexual Entertainment Venue licence. The committee has the power to refuse the licences and set the conditions under which they have to operate.
Dawkins said he wanted another condition put on the licences:
I think we should make it a condition that on their websites they do not use porn to advertise their clubs because they are using pornography to sell their business and that's a scandal, he said. They wouldn't be allowed to use these images on
their windows, but they are free to use them on their websites.
Licensing committee chairman, Councillor Bruce Lines said they had no powers over the internet. But the committee agreed to ask its officers to prepare a report for a future meeting on the possiblity of restricting how clubs advertised
themselves on their websites.
Coventry could find itself at the centre of a huge national debate if it votes for a ban on lap
dancing clubs, a meeting heard.
The city council is looking at a possible ban on sex clubs and has launched a a 3 month public consultation to supposedly find out what the public thinks.
A council meeting heard the city could become a test case nationally and could be the subject of a judicial review if it decides on an outright city centre ban.
Coun Phil Townshend, cabinet member for community safety and a lawyer, told a cabinet meeting he was braced for a long legal battle.... BUT . ..he ludicrously claimed: I'm not setting myself up to be the bastion of public
The current policy allows up to two sexual entertainment venues in the city centre, and none in the rest of the city. There is currently only one, Heat, in the City Arcade.
Birmingham Council moralists want to limit the number of lap dancing clubs in Birmingham to 12, three more than the current nine.
Labour Councillor Majid Mahmood spewed tired clich é ridden and unsubstantiated claptrap:
It's about time we limited the number of sexual entertainment venues in this city. I would hate to see Birmingham turning into another Soho.
However Labour Councillor Habib Rehman warned that decisions based on moralising may be illegal:
We need to ensure what we propose does not flout competition laws.
The restriction idea will now form part of a ten-week consultation on the council's sexual entertainment venue policy. The consultation will also address concerns about the promotional methods used by adults-only venues after councillors last year called
for a ban on the use of pornographic images on their websites.
The consultation, due to start next month, will ask members of the public to express their views through the council's website.
A report on the consultation will be put before the committee in April.
Plans for a fourth lap dancing club in Birmingham's pubs and clubs area have been greeted by moralist objections.
8 letters have 'poured in' opposing the Broad Street venue, called Paradise, from businesses, the Repertory Theatre and an MP
There are currently three established lap dancing clubs on the road, with the Rocket and Cyclone nightspots vying for trade with Legs 11.
The company behind the latest plan already runs two similar clubs in Manchester and submitted an application for a Sexual Entertainment Venue (SEV) licence in November.
Ladywood Labour MP Shabana Mahmood ludicrously claimed without any evidence whatsoever:
This application for a SEV, if successful would drastically change the nature of the locality, especially as there are currently three other SEV's on Broad Street. A fourth club would be a further indication that Broad Street was becoming the
red light district area in Birmingham.
Update: Unbroadened Minds
21st January 2013. Thanks to Alan
What planet do these people live on? Broad Street is a boozing area, full of piss artists mingling with punters from the Rep, Symphony Hall and the NIA.
One more lap dancing joint isn't going to make a scrap of difference.
Moralist councillors rejected an application by Eutony Limited to open the venue, which would have been called Paradise, after a handful of objectors raised unevidenced concerns about Broad Street supposedly becoming a red light district akin
to Soho in London.
There are already three strip clubs on Broad Street; Legs 11, Cyclone and the Rocket Club, and there were supposed fears that a fourth would change the dynamics of the area ., Birmingham's nightlife and bar quarter.
Eutony pledged to take the matter further, saying that moral objections were not a valid reason for refusal.
Councillor Barbara Dring, chairwoman of the Licensing and Public Protection Committee, spewed:
Members were of the opinion that it would be inappropriate to grant the licence having regard to the character of the relevant locality being Broad Street, due to the close vicinity of family orientated activities, entertainment, providing
hotels, restaurants and family accommodation.
A spokesman for Eutony said:
The decision to reject our application on the grounds that the character of the area ie Broad Street is not suitable is in our opinion most unjust in view of the fact that three other lap-dancing clubs exist on the street.
It is accepted that lap dancing venues are inherently safe and parliament has enacted legislation to regulate an industry where it recognizes a legitimate demand. Moral objections are not for consideration.
Our proposal was to convert derelict upper floors of a broad street property into a thriving nighttime business employing 15 permanent staff and bring this property back to life and contribute to the councils purse as a business ratepayer. We
are accepting legal advice with respect to moving the matter to the high court for a judicial review.
The Birmingham Mail ran a report about the city council considering its policies for lap dancing. A lot of these clubs are located in the middle of the main bars and nightlife areas of Broad street and Bradford Street. Surely Friday and Saturday night
revelry will result in inevitable above average crime rates. And the Birmingham Mail decided to imply that all of this general violence was somehow related to the small percentage of lap dancing bars. The paper ran with the large font headline:
500 violent crimes in a year outside Birmingham lapdancing clubs
A few lines later the Mail reported the reality in the body of the article, but only after the damage was done:
Police recorded 90 cases of actual bodily harm within 50m of the nine lapdance clubs in the city between March 1, 2013 and February 28 this year A lap dancer at the Rocket Club in Birmingham
More than 500 violent offences and sexual crimes, including rape and robbery, have taken place within close proximity of Birmingham lapdancing clubs in the last year.
But West Midlands Police said just ten of the crimes were directly linked to the venues.
Comment: A culture of violence
21st April 2014. From Alan
The Brum Mail's treatment of this story is ludicrous. I've never been to a lap-dancing club in my life, but I regularly attend two of the establishments responsible for the violence in Broad Street. Whenever I stagger out, pissed as a newt, from
listening to Mozart in Symphony Hall or watching Shakespeare at the Rep, I duff up some hapless victim. Then the violent thugs, inspired by the Oxford English Dictionary, stagger out of the new Library of Birmingham and join the fray, while the yobs from
the City Museum and Art Gallery rush to get stuck in to the mayhem......
Under threat of having to justify their bollox excuse for a ban of Paradise Table Dancing Club to the High Court in a Judicial Review, Birmingham Council have agreed to hold a re-hearing for the bar's licence application.
Paradise is a proposed club on Broad Street, Birmingham's nightlife centre. Council moralists previously refused the licence ludicrously claiming that a 4th table dancing club would somehow change the dynamic of Birmingham's bar and nightlife
Eutony, the company behind the club, vowed to fight the decision and wrote to the council asking them to reconsider before lodging papers for a judicial review at the High Court.
They were told that the council had quashed their original decision and the committee will hear their application again at a new hearing. It effectively puts the City in exactly the same position that we were in before receiving the original
application, a report said.
Update: Council meeting delayed
16th May 2014.
It seems that councillors are keener on electioneering than moralising and so have postponed consideration of the Paradise application until after the upcoming elections.
Birmingham councillors have arbitrarily rejected plans for a table dancing club on Birmingham's Broad Street, claiming it would have been one sex establishment too many.
Bosses at Eutony Ltd saw an application to open the venue, which would have been called Paradise, turned down for the second time.
Members of the Licensing and Public Protection Committee have now issued 'reasons' for refusal, claiming a fourth club along the street would alter the family orientated character of the Golden Mile. [As if Birmingham's binge drinking street could be
called a family orientated area?]
Broad Street already has three lapdancing bars, the Rocket Club, Cyclone and Legs 11, and countless bars for young people who enjoy hitting town on Friday and Saturday nights.
Committee chairman Barbara Dring spouted:
The committee accepted the clustering of a further sexual entertainment venue would be a powerful indication that the Broad Street area could become or come to be perceived as an adults' only locality within the city, this was considered inappropriate.
The committee also concluded a further sexual entertainment venue -- effectively a fourth in Broad Street -- would be inappropriate with the developing family and cultural character of the locality. A fourth sexual entertainment venue in this locality
would be one sex establishment too many.
Birmingham City Council has imposed a cap of eight lap dancing clubs in Birmingham city centre, saying they will allow no more to open.
The council's licensing committee claimed there are fears that any more strip clubs, particularly in the Broad Street and pub and club areas, would lead to the city getting a sleazy reputation [to go with its reputation
for letting schools get out of control?].
Four years ago the committee decided not to set a limit on sexual entertainment venues, but now opinions have changed and they have decided to impose a limit of eight within the city centre ring road, the current number.
There have been as many as 12 active strip club licences in Birmingham, although not all businesses were active at the same time.
Coun Gareth Moore (Cons, Erdington) threatened a further reduction, albeit without closing down operating clubs:
Reducing it further would not be fair on existing businesses which have been operating for a number of years given us no problems. If a sexual entertainment venue were to go out of business, we could then consider reducing the cap further.
A report at a Birmingham Council licensing committee meeting claimed that a concerted, sophisticated and highly organised
criminal operation was being run from the Broad Street branch of the Legs 11 lap dancing club.. This was said to include financial fraud and human trafficking.
A mass raid resulted comprising of a campaign group, Hope for Justice, city council officials, trading standards, Revenue and Customs officials, police and even the Red Cross.
Inevitably the raid failed to find evidence of trafficking. No arrests were made, and the campaign group Hope for Justice said no hard evidence of people trafficking was uncovered. A spokesman said that none of the girls wanted to engage with us,
or with the police. Some of the girls talked about having to 'pay to work', maybe £100 or something, but then potentially being able to earn more than that. Some of them earn very good money -- £1,000 a night perhaps, but others much much less. He
In this particular case, we didn't see clear cases of girls being forced to be there.
However the club has been closed anyway, with the authorities citing allegations of fraud.
A lap dancing club which allegedly drugged customers and took more than £90,000 in credit card overcharges has had its alcohol licence revoked.
Legs 11 on Broad Street, Birmingham, had the licence suspended on 3 July over police claims it was associated with serious crime.
Barbara Dring, the city council's licensing sub-committee chair, said it was revoked to protect public safety. In the committee's report, he said two men had claimed they were drugged, with one testing positive for methadone with a home testing
The club was being investigated over 17 fraud-related allegations since 2013, police said. Some customers paid for dances in a private area but additional transactions were taking place that they had not authorised, Supt Parsons added. One
victim claimed he had lost as much as £19,417.