Northampton

Wellingborough bans new sex entertainment venues

New lap dancing clubs and other sexual entertainment venues are to be banned in a Northamptonshire borough while councillors develop a licensing policy.

Wellingborough's community committee will meet on 21 November to decide if the number of venues in the borough can be limited, the council said.

While residents are consulted on policy ideas new sex businesses will be prevented from setting up.

Controls on sex entertainment venues were adopted in March this year.

These venues were previously regulated under the Licensing Act 2003 and applications were submitted in the same way as a pub or a restaurant, the council said.

The act has now been updated to include sexual entertainment venues and responsibility for granting licences adopted by the council.

These venues are defined as commercial premises where "any live performance or display of nudity is reasonably assumed to be provided for the purpose of sexually stimulating the audience", the council said

These venues now need a council sex establishment licence.

No moral stance

Peter Morrall, chairman of the community committee, said: "When we adopted the new legislation we got better control of these types of venues.

"It means that local people can oppose an application for a sex establishment licence if they are concerned the venue is inappropriate to a particular area.

"What we're hoping to do now is consult on the policy that we will follow when deciding to grant a licence or not.

"This is not about us taking a moral stance - we recognise that it is not unlawful to operate a sex establishment - but the Home Office advises that it is good practice to have a policy against which we can evaluate applications.

"We are also able to set a limit on the number of sexual entertainment venues in the borough and whilst the consultation is ongoing we would like to set this limit at zero.

"This would obviously be reviewed following the outcome of the consultation."

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