Plans for a lap dancing club in the affluent market town of Ampthill have caused the inevitable 'outrage' among residents.
Lord John Shayler submitted the application on June 15 to Central Bedfordshire Council for a Sexual Entertainment Licence in Church Street.
Shayler who had previously ran a cafe and restaurant at the location said he's hoping to bring a Coyote Ugly vibe to town. Shayler said:
Like Walt Disney I want to create that Disney World bubble where people turn up miserable and leave with a smile on their face. I want to bring a bit of magic to people's lives. The residents of Ampthill are all prepared to haul me over the
coals before they've even heard my plans.
It's something I've been considering for 18 months and anyone who asked me what I'm doing with the place in that time would have heard me say 'I'm opening up a lap dancing club' but it will be more like Coyote Ugly.
There aren't going to be naked woman walking around Market Square. Anything like that will be in the basement of the club and you would have to pay for the privilege. I'm not opening this for the people of Ampthill I'm opening it for me.
Residents have until July 14 to give their representation to the council regarding the application. Ten or so objections have been submitted so far.
Hundreds of nutters gathered in the centre of a Bedfordshire market town to protest against the prospective opening of a lap-dancing club.
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
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.
A lap-dancing club has opened in the centre of a Bedfordshire market town despite widespread nutter opposition.
A small protest was held outside Shayler's Club in Ampthill on Friday night as it opened for a VIP event.
Councillor Brian Spurr said in the end the council had no choice but to grant it a licence. He added that conditions had been imposed on the club before it could open, including no advertising signs, and its manager - John Shaylor - had kept to
I'm just hoping that people don't actually go there, then it will close, said Spurr.
Shayler said earlier this year that his purpose was not to upset the people of Ampthill but to put a building he owned back into
A policy that effectively bans sexual entertainment venues and sex cinemas in the town of Central Bedfordshire has been adopted by the council's Licensing Committee.
An initial telephone survey of 1,123 residents resulted in 63% of respondents saying they did not believe licences for sexual entertainment venues should be granted in their local area. More specifically, the results revealed that at least 80% of
respondents were opposed to sex entertainment venues operating in the vicinity of religious buildings, schools, residential areas and places frequented by children and families. A public consultation on the draft policy showed similar opinions
about the locality of sex establishments.
The new policy bans sex establishments (sexual entertainment venues and sex cinemas only, not sex shops) within 500m of the more or less everywhere:
Schools, nurseries or any other premises substantially used by or for children under 18 years of age Areas frequented by children and families, eg. tourist attractions Residential areas Parks or other recreational areas used by or for children
under 1 years of age Areas frequented by vulnerable adults, eg. care homes Areas associated with family leisure and retail Community buildings Churches or other places of religious worship