Hundreds of nutters gathered in the centre of a Bedfordshire market town to protest against the prospective opening of a lap-dancing
About 700 Ampthill residents met to give a petition to a representative of Central Bedfordshire Council, signed by over 2,000 people. Approximately a third of the town's population have signed a petition opposing it, saying it is out of keeping
with the Georgian town's high street. They want the successful application for a Sexual Entertainment licence to be revoked by the local authority.
Mark Dear from the We Love Ampthill group said:
It is quite frankly the wrong place. It's a residential area, it's a gateway to the town, it's opposite a toy shop and adjacent to a children's ballet studio, I can't think of a less suitable place.
The council said it understood the strength of community feeling but its hands are tied by licensing regulations . Council leader James Jamieson said councillors:
concluded that none of the grounds on which the licence could be refused had been met. This left them with no alternative but to grant a licence. We will do everything in our power to make sure every single one of the conditions laid out in the
licence is strictly enforced.
Update: Nutter tries to shove her morality issues into the lap of David Cameron
18th October 2012. See article
Nutter MP Nadine Dorries brought up the subject of lap dancing in Ampthill at Prime Minister's Questions in Parliament:
Nadine Dorries (Mid Bedfordshire, Conservative):
Recently, a lap-dancing club in Ampthill, a rural market town in my constituency, has been granted a licence. The one thing that residents of Mid Bedfordshire have learned is that it does not matter whether it is a Wembley-sized incinerator or a
lap-dancing club in a beautiful market town, the wishes of local people have absolutely no weight in planning law. Does the Prime Minister agree that it is time we amended planning law, so that, when catastrophic applications come forward that
blight the environment people live in and which greatly distress them, their views and voice are heard?
David Cameron (Prime Minister; Witney, Conservative):
My hon. Friend speaks for many people about the frustration that the planning system can sometimes deliver. I would make two points about where we are making progress. First, we have changed the licensing laws to give the planners greater power
to alter licences, and I believe that that can apply to the sorts of premises to which she refers. Secondly, of course, under our plans, people can write neighbourhood plans, which give far greater control to residents over the shape of their
future community. I encourage her, however, to take up the specific issue with the Department for Communities and Local Government, to see whether there is more that we can do.