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New regulations for lap dancing clubs

Adoption of new guidelines gives West Berkshire Council more control over sex establishments

RESIDENTS across the district will be given the power to oppose lap dancing clubs or sex establishments under new legal guidlines adopted by West Berkshire Council.

A vote was taken by councillors at a full meeting of West Berkshire Council last Thursday, and the decision was made to adopt section 27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009, meaning local residents would be able to oppose an application for a licence of a lap dancing club, or similar business, if they had concerns that it would be inappropriate for the type of area.

The Act introduces adoptive provisions to allow local authorities to regulate these types of establishments.

It would also mean:

- licences would have to be renewed at least yearly, when local people can again raise objections.

- the authority could reject a licence application if it believes that to grant a licence for a lap dancing club or similar would be inappropriate given the character of a particular area.

- the authority could set a limit on the number of Sex Entertainment Venues (premises at which relevant entertainment is provided for a live audience for financial gain of the organiser or performer) that it thinks is appropriate for the area (locality).

- the authority could impose a wider range of conditions on the licences of lap dancing clubs or similar, than it is currently able to do under the Licensing Act 2003.

The council's portfolio holder for public protection, Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley), said: “It will protect members of the public and stop these places springing up next door to them with no protection.”

Currently, no lap dancing clubs or other businesses of this nature operate in West Berkshire.

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