South West Wales

Swansea sex entertainment venues and new bars banned

York Place Baptist Church with Bellissima to the left of it
Image caption Bellissima next to York Place Baptist Church was the last place to be given a sex entertainment licence

Sex entertainment venues have been banned in Swansea after councillors capped the number at "nil".

They voted to change the current policy from each application being dealt with on its own merits to one where they will "normally be refused".

It covers lap dancing, pole dancing, table dancing, strip shows, peep shows and live sex shows.

Councillors also voted to limit the number of bars in the city centre which has over 250 licensed premises.

The report to Swansea council proposed a new Licensing of Sex Establishments Policy follows a public consultation earlier this year.

Character affected

Local authorities are entitled to state how many sex establishments and sex entertainment venues are permitted within its area.

They can also consider whether introducing them would affect the area's character.

But local authorities are not allowed to make their decisions based upon moral judgements.

"The council cannot prevent organisations from making applications to establish these kinds of venues, but we can look to introduce changes in the licensing policies which state clearly that the appropriate number of these venues in certain areas is nil," said council leader David Phillips before the meeting.

"From the feedback we have had there is strong support, particularly in the city centre, for the concept that the appropriate number of sex entertainment venues in the city centre is nil.

"The city centre aims to be a place which is welcoming to families at all times of the day and evening. There is also a growing residential presence in the city centre and strong faith communities are established there."

Putting a numerical control on the number establishments is allowed under UK legislation.

Swansea currently has no venues with a licence for sex entertainment after the last one ran out in April.

Alcohol licences

The last holder was not able to use its licence as the council is the property's leaseholder and did not agree a change of planning use.

The venue was next to York Place Baptist Church and more than 1,000 people opposed the licence in a petition.

The council also decided on Tuesday to restrict the number of premises allowed to sell alcohol after a report said Swansea city centre had reached "saturation point".

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Media captionConcerns have been raised that the city centre has too many bars

"There are already 252 pubs, clubs, restaurants and off-licences in the city centre and with so many in such a small area it has created problems for the police with rising crime and disorder there," said Mr Phillips.

"The crime figures and the number of complaints the council is receiving suggests that it's now time to accept the number of licences in the area has reached saturation point and something needs to be done to control the number of alcohol licences granted in the future.

"At the moment the council does not have the power to prevent an alcohol licence being granted on the basis that there are already too many pubs, clubs or off-licences in a particular area."

But the new Cumulative Impact Special Saturation Policy can be triggered by the police, health authority, council or similar organisation if a new application will add to the cumulative impact of licensed premises already in the area.

It means that licence applicants will have to prove their proposal will not have a negative impact in the area.

In 2011/12 there were 873 crimes in the main drinking spot, Wind Street, of which 360 were violent crimes.

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