Birmingham & Black Country

Scarlets lap dancing club is Birmingham's seventh

The owner of the seventh lapdancing club to be granted a licence in Birmingham has insisted there are not too many in the city.

Michelle Monaghan, who already runs Cyclone and Mischkas lap dancing club on Broad Street, has now been given a licence for Scarlets on Horsefair.

She said the declining pub trade meant bars and clubs had to diversify.

But Mike Olley, who manages the main bar area - Broad Street - said the city may not be able to sustain them all.

Ms Monaghan said she would be "surprised" if people in the second city were against the idea of the lapdancing clubs because legislation governing them was so strict.

She said Birmingham and the Black Country "were blighted by empty public houses" and that lapdancing clubs were more profitable than normal clubs.

She said: "We have found with lapdancing clubs, we can open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and take as much as we could on a Saturday [at a standard nightclub].

"Whereas before, running a nightclub, we need to open on Friday and Saturday and we need to get 500 people in....just to pay the bills each week."

Mr Olley said he accepted the lapdancing clubs were popular but said he believed the three in Broad Street could be too many.

He said: "The three venues there, it's not ideal, two is, but I can live with three.

"The vast majority of people in the Broad Street area are business people on conventions, that's what we want to plug.

"The reality is, when people are out on conference, they'll have a drink in the hotel bar, eat in a restaurant and then usually a casino or strip club, that's a reality."

'Market will decide'

But he said overall, "the market will decide" whether they can be sustained.

Conservative MPs were given discount vouchers for the city's Rocket Club near their party conference venue, the International Convention Centre, in 2008.

New legislation means lapdancing clubs have to apply for a licence under Sexual Entertainment Venue regulations every 12 months.

A 12-month licence in Birmingham costs £9,950, the council said.

The Lap Dancing Association said about 25,000 people were employed in the £2bn industry across the UK.

Councillor Chris Neville said the city council could not limit the number of clubs in a city but could limit the number in a particular area where there were valid reasons.

The revenue the venues generate cannot be an influencing factor in granting a licence, he added.

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