Take Action

Deadline NOW

You do not need to be local

 

Bournemouth is consulting again on its new strip club policy. The first time around it put NO LIMIT on strip club numbers, despite years of serious incidents at its 3 clubs. Now it has (unlawfully) EXEMPTED existing clubs from the policy – and legislation – by making it impossible to challenge them on the grounds of locality (the key way to challenge strip clubs). It has not even carried out an Equality Impact Assessment – laying it wide open to legal challenge for breaching licensing, competition and equality law!

Pre-filled Email not Working?

Click Here

No worries, just copy and paste the below, add your name & address and send to: [email protected]

……………………………………………………………

Dear Licensing

It is extremely disappointing that the Council has ignored all valid concerns about your new SEV policy and are now proposing something even more unreasonable – to exempt all existing strip clubs from being challengeable on the grounds of locality. This is despite the fact that the Council acknowledges the locality has changed considerably since these venues first opened. It is despite years of serious incidences at these clubs

This is undoubtedly unlawful – it is well established that you cannot treat existing clubs differently from any new applicants. Further, you are now exempting these clubs from a key aspect of SEV legislation.

You also do not appear to have carried out an Equality Impact Assessment.

This means the Council appear to be acting unlawfully on at least two counts.

I urge you to find out the facts about the life long harms of the strip industry, that it cannot be regulated, how it directly feeds prostitution and its widespread and unavoidable anti-equalities impacts, before making an unlawful policy

Please urgently retract this draft policy, listen to the local community and equalities experts and, most importantly, women from the industry who speak out against it.

To better understand the reality of the industry please watch any of the videos below:

Lap Dancing Harm to Lap Dancers
Impact on Attitudes
Feeding Prostitution

To better understand SEV and Equality Legislation please read this document

Thank you


Make the UK Strip Free


Lap dancing – ‘glamourous’, empowering’, ‘well regulated’ and ‘fun’?  These are the words we should really associate with strip clubs:

  • sexual contact
  • sex acts
  • rampant fraud
  • drugs & dealers
  • constant assaults
  • harassment & exploitation
  • impossible to regulate
  • GBH
  • no go zones
  • underage girls
  • trafficking
  • organised crime
  • feeding local brothels (pimps often openly tout outside clubs)
  • leading lap dancers into prostitution
  • damaging attitudes in wider society
  • corrupting local democracy
  • organised crime

It’s time to follow the lead of Iceland and Israel and go strip free. Sign our petition calling on Councils, MPs and the Home Office for change!

Sign Petition

 


Action in Your Area

Want to challenge a local strip club?
Contact us for support
Visit our Strip Club pages for background info and publications

 


Past Actions

Click Here

 

Deadline Fri 16th July

You do not need to be local

Take Action

Bournemouth is re-consulting on a new strip club policy. In their first consultation they put NO LIMIT on strip club numbers, despite years of serious incidents at its 3 current clubs. After an initial consultation, their new draft is even worse as they have now effectively EXEMPTED all existing clubs from the policy by making it impossible to challenge them on the grounds of locality (the key way to challenge strip clubs – one that gives operators no real recourse to legal come back). They have not even carried out an Equality Impact Assessment – laying them wide open to legal challenge for breaching licensing, competition and equality law!

Take 2 mins to fill out their consultation. Tell them there is NO locality where strip clubs are appropriate, they CANNOT exempt existing clubs from their policy, they must adopt a Policy for ZERO clubs, stop licensing all clubs and support all lap dancers out.

This is absolutely critical now because of the mass expansion the industry will be pushing for post Covid, and the massive increase in abuse that will be seen (desperate women, strip club operators & the local brothels they feed eager to claw back funds, punters determined to start ‘having fun’ again).

 


Deadline 17th Feb

Portsmouth are due to relicense  Elegance strip club – nestled between a church and  2 schools, despite a policy that states clubs near schools and churches ‘will normally be refused’ and that there is no location in Portsmouth that is appropriate for a strip club.

Use our pre-filled email. Add your  name and address – which WILL be redacted by the Council

You do NOT need to be local
If you would like to share any experience of the harm of the strip industry please feel free to add this.

Pre-filled Email not Working?

No worries, just copy and paste the below, add your name and address and send to: [email protected]

…………………………………….

re ‘Elegance’ Strip Club

Please refuse this license on the discretionary grounds of locality:

  1. Your policy states there is NO location where a strip club is appropriate (7.10). Licensing this strip club means you are automatically breaching your own policy – a policy which was widely consulted on by your tax paying electorate.

 

  1. This club is clearly in a totally inappropriate locality. It is next to 2 schools and a church. The area is also rife with vulnerable adults and multi-occupancy dwellings. Women have told you at previous hearings that they are harassed outside it, which clearly effects their ability to use the area comfortably, if at all.

 

It’s location is in clear breach of what is deemed suitable in your policy at 7.11d), 7.14 and 7.15. In fact your policy explicitly states that strip clubs will normally be refused if close to places of worship, children’s centres or similar (7.15).

 

There have been two successful High Court cases against Sheffield City Council for failing to abide by equality law in its pro-strip industry stance. This included not acknowledging the impact of strip venues on equality in terms of the local area or on wider society. Portsmouth is equally liable to such, costly, legal challenge.

 

  1. Your policy states that ‘the presumption to refuse does not apply to existing clubs’. This simply reiterates SEV case law that ‘regard’ must be given to the fact that a license is already held but no more. However the council appears to be wrongfully interpreting this to mean ‘existing clubs cannot be refused’ on the basis of locality. Such an interpretation is unlawful and a breach of SEV legislation. This has been confirmed by Judges and other legal experts:

“Parliament has drawn no distinction between grant and renewal of an SEV licence .. To make a distinction would fetter the discretion of the local authority in cases of renewal, which Parliament has not done”

R v Birmingham City Council ex parte Sheptonhurst Ltd [1990] 1 AII ER 1026  p12

 

  1. Councils have sweeping powers to refuse to relicense on the grounds of locality. This is regardless of any change in locality or any other material changes whatsoever. This has been widely confirmed by case law, judges and other experts:

‘licensing authorities are entitled to ‘have a fresh look’ and may refuse to relicense ‘even where there has been no material change in circumstances” Kolvin, QC et al

 

When representing local residents at the relicensing hearing of a Chester club Philip Kolvin, QC, confirmed: ‘this year’s committee is entitled to come to a different conclusion from last years’ and ‘merely the fact that a number of people are concerned justifies refusal’.  The license was successfully refused on the grounds of inappropriate locality.

[Philip Kolvin, QC, is the legal authority on SEV licensing – he wrote the legislation.]

 

“.. the statute imposes no constraint upon a Local Authority’s discretion when it is considering a renewal ..In my judgement it is not perverse to refuse a renewal where there is no change in the character of the relevant locality or in the use to which any premises in the locality are put.”

R v Birmingham City Council ex parte Sheptonhurst Ltd  27 p 11 (referred to in Thompson v Oxford City Council)

 

“.. you have to make a value judgement, that’s why you are elected.. the law states that you can refuse simply because the venue is in the wrong place.. ”  Kolvin, QC

 

5. Furthermore, operators have no legal grounds to challenge such a decision. Those that do must go to the High Court, a very difficult route. None have ever succeeded. Frequently the case is instantly dismissed without being heard:

“ if the licensing authority refuses to renew on the ground that it would be inappropriate having regard to the character of the relevant locality, it must give its reasons for refusal .. If the reasons given are rational, that is to say properly relevant to the ground for refusal, then the court cannot interfere. “

Court of Appeal O’Connor  28 p12 (referred to in Thompson v Oxford City Council)

 

6. In fact, all Councils need do is give the reason why they refused:

Although it is important to give reasons for a decision to refuse, those reasons need only be sufficient to enable the losing party to know why he has lost

[Legal Analysis of Judge’s ruling to refuse a license renewal for a South Buckinghamshire strip club]

 

Portsmouth council is breaching its own policy, SEV legislation and equality law. This puts the council at risk of legal challenge by those who object to its strip clubs.

 

Please abide by your own policy and the wishes of your tax payers – the voters whom you are supposed to represent, particularly the most vulnerable. Stop re-licensing this strip club, particularly now when it is not open, cannot open for some considerable time and whose primary workers (lap dancers) have not been entitled to furlough all this time (as ‘self employed’ workers). Close this club and support its former lap dancers into safe, alternative and viable employment and training.

 


 

Deadline 1st Feb

You do not need to be local

Take Action

Bournemouth is consulting on a new strip club policy that will put NO LIMIT on numbers, despite issues for years at its 3 current clubs (including the notorious Spearmint Rhino). They do not even appear to have even carried out an Equality Impact Assessment – laying them wide open to legal challenge for breaching equality law!

Take 2 mins to fill out their consultation. Tell them there is NO locality where strip clubs are appropriate, they must adopt a Policy for ZERO clubs, stop licensing clubs currently operating and support all women out.

This is absolutely critical now because of the mass expansion the industry will be pushing for post Covid, and the massive increase in abuse that will be seen (desperate women, strip club operators & the local brothels they feed eager to claw back funds, punters determined to start ‘having fun’ again).

 


La Salsa, Halifax

Deadline Mon 14 Dec

The council refused this license previously on grounds that the location had changed (so was no longer appropriate) and unfit applicant (charged for underage dancers and prostitution at his sister club in Huddersfield). But they then backed down after threat of legal challenge. At last year’s hearing, the council mistakenly believed they could not refuse this license unless the location had changed and that they could not consider evidence from the PCC that the applicant was unfit.

 

To Object

Copy and paste the information below and send to: [email protected]

Don’t forget to include your name, address and any other information you feel is relevant (particularly experiences of the strip industry)

If you are concerned about providing these details please ask the council to consider your objection c/o Not Buying It using Not Buying It’s contact details, which we will provide them.

………………   copy and paste the below   ………………………………………………………….

 

re: Objection to relicensing of La Salsa strip club, Halifax

Please refuse this license on the grounds that the CURRENT locality is ‘inappropriate’ (near a women’s centre, schools, places of worship etc). You are fully entitled to refuse on the grounds that the current locality is inappropriate. There does not need to have been any change in the locality or any other material change whatsoever in order for you to refuse to relicense a strip club. You are entitled to look at this license ‘with fresh eyes’ at every hearing  (such ‘fresh eyes’ could include your fresh understanding of your right to refuse despite no change in locality). You need only state your rationale for refusal. Whatsmore this decision cannot be challenged by the applicant in court except via the High Court (which no strip club operator has successfully done).

 

The right to refuse regardless of any change in locality, or any other material changes whatsoever,  is clearly affirmed in case law and by legal experts:

 

“In a case where there has been no change of circumstances, if the licensing authority refuses to renew on the ground that it would be inappropriate having regard to the character of the relevant locality, it must give its reasons for refusal .. If the reasons given are rational, that is to say properly relevant to the ground for refusal, then the court cannot interfere
Court of Appeal O’Connor  28 p12 (referred to in Thompson v Oxford)

 

“..it is not perverse to refuse a renewal where there is no change in the character of the relevant locality or in the use to which any premises in the locality are put.”
R v Birmingham City Council ex parte Sheptonhurst Ltd 27 p 11 (referred to in Thompson v Oxford)

 

‘licensing authorities are entitled to ‘have a fresh look’ and may refuse to relicense ‘even where there has been no material change in circumstances” Kolvin, QC et al

 

When representing local residents at the relicensing hearing of a Chester club Philip Kolvin, QC, confirmed ‘this year’s committee is entitled to come to a different conclusion from last years’ and ‘merely the fact that a number of people are concerned justifies refusal’.  The license was successfully refused on the grounds of inappropriate locality, despite there being no change in the locality since its last license renewal.

 

It should be noted that Philip Kolvin, QC, is THE legal authority on SEV licensing – he effectively wrote the legislation.

 

The entire purpose of SEV legislation is to give communities and their elected representatives – you – say over where (or if) strip clubs should operate. You have already sought to refuse this license previously but backed down after threat of legal action by the club. However, the club has NO RECOURSE to legal action if you refuse on the grounds of inappropriate locality. Please do not be taken in by the false premise that you can only refuse if there has been a change in locality. This is not true. And it is actually by doing this that you lay the council open to Judicial Review – by objectors.

 

Refuse this club’s license now AND ensure support for all its lap dancers with the emotional and practical support they will need after being involved in the organised sex industry.

 


Spearmint Rhino

Deadline 26th Nov

The Spearmint Rhino chain has a  2 decade history of documented criminality and wrong doing across the chain. In March 2019, Not Buying It provided hard evidence of pimping, sexual contact and prostitution to Camden council. 1.5 years on and the Council still have not published (or possibly even completed) their own investigation into this. There did not appear to be a licensing hearing last year. Why hasn’t the council included all last years objections or at very least told all who objected last year that they need to object, yet again, this year.

 

Link to Object

Go to this page and scroll down (about 12 venues) until you come to Spearmint Rhino. Click on this.

Then click ‘Make a Representation Form’ at bottom of the page

 

 

Text to Use:

Copy and paste the text below into the form. Please also include any experiences you have of the strip industry, or simply just include your experiences:

……………………………………………………….

PREVENTION OF CRIME & DISORDER/PUBLIC SAFETY/PUBLIC NUISANCE:

Why is this application being considered when the Council’s investigation into the hard evidence provided by Not Buying It to the council over 1.5 years ago (in March 2019) has not been concluded/made available for public scrutiny? This evidence, gathered by Private Investigators exposed sexual contact, women seeking to prostitute themselves and pimps outside the venue. This clearly goes directly to Prevention of Crime and Disorder, Public Safety and Public Nuisance.

This is summarised here: www.notbuyingit.org.uk/CamdenSRPIs

 

So too does the 2 decade long track record of this venue (and others in the chain – most recently the wall-to-wall sexual contact confirmed by the council at the Sheffield branch): www.notbuyingit.org.uk/strip-publications/Rhino

 

So too does the fact that a breach of licensing law by the applicant has been raised to Sheffield City Council – the applicant lied to the council. This goes to unfit applicant (another ground for refusing to license).

 

So too does the insurmountable evidence that SEVs simply CANNOT be regulated. Whatsmore the inability to regulate them is ONLY exposed after investigation by the police/trading standards (as at Red Rooms and Secrets/Sophisticats) or by Not Buying It (as at Spearmint Rhino and Parkers): www.notbuyingit.org.uk/strip-publications#Camden

 

BREACHING EQUALITY LAW – LIABLE TO LEGAL CHALLENGE

Further, you cannot abide by EQUALITY LAW when licensing SEVs – this MUST be satisfied in all licensing decisions. Whatever training, information and advice is given to the committee and licensing officers is clearly not fit for purpose, as there seems to be a total lack of understanding of how the industry really operates and how meaningless regulation is.

 

It should also be noted that your EIA (Equality Impact Assessment) is absolutely inadequate  –  again a potential breach of EQUALITY LAW.

 

It is extraordinarily easy to shut an SEV on the grounds of INAPPROPRIATE LOCALITY which the committee has full discretion to do. This SEV, like all your others, is in an inappropriate locality, according to your own policy. SEVs have no legal recourse to challenge such a decision (closure on these grounds has never been successfully challenged in court by an SEV).

 

For all these reasons, I ask you NOT to relicense this strip club. And ensure all its lap dancers (who you can easily reach by your ‘Performers Forum’) are supported out of the sex industry practically and emotionally – including in finding safe, alternative work.

 

I would also ask what happened to its licensing hearing last year? Why weren’t all objections from last year carried over to this year? At very least everyone who objected last year should have been told they have to re-object this year!

 

 


Red Rooms

 

Deadline 26th Nov

Red Rooms is infamous in the industry for operating as a brothel, with pimps outside and multiple reports of financial fraud. In the last 3 months of 2019  police documented: fraud, poisoning, false imprisonment and sexual contact; an assault outside the venue;  a near fatal stabbing inside (GBH with intent). The club remained operational even after this stabbing (the club did not even tell the police). Its 2020 licensing hearing was never completed. Some members of the licensing committee had not even read the report pack for the hearing.

 

Link to Object

Go to this page and scroll down (about 12 venues) until you come to Red Rooms. Click on this.

Then click ‘Make a Representation Form’ at bottom of the page

 

 

Text to Use:

Copy and paste the text below into the form. Please also include any experiences you have of the strip industry, or simply just include your experiences:

……………………………………………………….

 

PREVENTION OF CRIME & DISORDER/PUBLIC SAFETY/PUBLIC NUISANCE:

You cannot license this venue and prevent serious crime and disorder or (extreme) risk to public safety, let alone nuisance.

 

This venue has a long track record of serious incidences – with pimps reported outside and multiple reports of financial fraud. The last 3 months of 2019  alone saw police document: fraud, poisoning, false imprisonment and sexual contact; an assault outside the venue;  a near fatal stabbing inside (GBH with intent). The club remained operational even after the stabbing (the club did not even tell the police). Its 2020 licensing hearing was never completed.

Full details are in this link: www.notbuyingit.org.uk/strip-publications/red-rooms-faq-1

 

PREVENTION OF CRIME & DISORDER/PUBLIC SAFETY:

Crime and disorder or ensuring public safety CANNOT be achieved if SEVs are  licensed as they simply CANNOT be regulated, with the council invariably none the wiser. Camden’s failure to regulate its 7 strip clubs has been exposed (and ONLY exposed) on investigation by the police/trading standards (in Red Rooms and Secrets/Sophisticats) or by Not Buying It (in Spearmint Rhino/Parkers): www.notbuyingit.org.uk/strip-publications#Camden

The long list of incidences are given here: www.notbuyingit.org.uk/strip-publications#Camden

 

BREACH OF EQUALITY LAW –  LIABLE TO LEGAL CHALLENGE

Further, you cannot abide by EQUALITY LAW when licensing SEVs – this MUST be satisfied in all licensing decisions. This includes a total lack of understanding by the committee and council staff of how the industry really operates due to the provision of inadequate/inappropriate information and training (which does not include any meaningful dialogue with women who have exited the strip trade or their advocates) and clearly meaningless regulatory measures.

 

Because of this, your EIA (Equality Impact Assessment) is deeply inadequate – again, a likely breach of EQUALITY LAW.

 

It is extraordinarily easy to shut an SEV on the grounds of INAPPROPRIATE LOCALITY which the committee has full discretion to do. This SEV, like all your others, is in an inappropriate locality, according to your own policy (which also states there is no area where a strip club/SEV is appropriate). SEVs have no legal recourse to challenge such a decision (closure on these grounds has never been successfully challenged in court by an SEV).

A legal outline detailing all of this is given here: www.notbuyingit.org.uk/striplegal 

 

Do NOT relicense this strip club and ensure all its lap dancers (who you can easily reach by your ‘Performers Forum’) have the practical and emotional support they will need to exit the industry and move into safe work.

 

I would also ask what happened to its licensing hearing last year which appeared to be only partially carried out? Why weren’t all objections from last year carried over to this year? At very least everyone who objected last year should have been told they have to re-object this year!

 

 

Secrets Strip Joints

DEADLINE Fri 20th  NOV

The Secrets chain has a long history of GBH, credit card fraud and more. At last year’s licensing hearing, we believe, the owner committed an offence by lying to the council over this. And Camden council refused to consider the information we had compiled on the chain (from their own prior licensing hearings!).

 

Links to Object

Object to Secrets Parker Street here 

Object to Secrets Grays Inn Rd here

Click ‘Make a Representation Form’ at bottom of each page

[If these links do not work, please go to this page and scroll down (about 12 venues) until you come to Secrets Parker St and then Secrets Grays Inn Rd]

 

Text to Use:

Copy and paste the text below into the form. Please also include any experiences you have of the strip industry, or simply just include your experiences:

……………………………………………………….

UNFIT LICENSE HOLDER & THE CRITERIA LISTED ABOVE:

At the last licensing hearing for this chain, Not Buying It, exposed that the applicant is unfit due to the long list of breaches at the Secrets chain, particularly Secrets Eversholt Rd (now ‘Sophisticats’ but still trading under a Secrets name).

UNFIT LICENSE HOLDER:

At last year’s licensing hearing the applicant appeared to lie to the council – this is unlawful. And this has been raised with the council for investigation. He stated there ‘have never been any serious incidences’ at any of his clubs. At a second hearing he then stated he had looked through all relevant minutes and still found no breaches.

However, the Secrets Eversholt branch had had numerous police and trading standard reports of serious incidences. This was in report packs and in minutes of Council meetings. It included the police working closely with the applicant ‘to resolve issues’.

How could the applicant have been ‘unaware of any incidences’?

UNFIT LICENSING HEARINGS / LIABLE TO LEGAL CHALLENGE:

This also exposes serious flaws in the licensing hearings themselves as the committee were totally unaware of these serious incidences (which included GBH and financial fraud). They also refused to consider the information we had collated from their own report on these incidences, even though the hearing was deferred and there was amble opportunity for both the committee and applicant to consider this (in fact the applicant took it upon himself to do just that but still appeared to find nothing in minutes relating to wrong doing at his club/clubs).

UNFIT LICENSE HOLDER/ EXTREME LEVELS OF DEBT/ PREVENTION OF CRIME & DISORDER

The license holder also appears to carry extreme levels of debts, amounting to £millions, in the many holding accounts for the various strip chains he operates.

PREVENTION OF CRIME & DISORDER/PUBLIC SAFETY/PUBLIC NUISANCE:

There is insurmountable evidence that SEVs CANNOT be regulated. Camden’s catastrophic failure to regulate has been exposed by the police and trading standards at Red Rooms and Secrets/Sophisticats and by Not Buying It at Rhino and Parkers (which is operating as a brothel).

BREACH OF EQUALITY LAW/ LIABLE TO LEGAL CHALLENGE

Further, you cannot abide by EQUALITY LAW when licensing SEVs – this MUST be satisfied in all licensing decisions. This includes the unfit training, information and advice that appears to be given to the licensing subcommittee (often coming directly from industry advocates or legal experts who also represent the industry), a total lack of understanding of how the industry really operates and meaningless regulatory measures.

It should also be noted that your EIA (Equality Impact Assessment) is absolutely inadequate – as some of the committee have themselves have pointed out – again a breach of EQUALITY LAW.

It is extraordinarily easy to shut an SEV on the grounds of INAPPROPRIATE LOCALITY which the committee has full discretion to do. This SEV, like all your others, is in an inappropriate locality, according to your own policy. SEVs have no legal recourse to challenge such a decision (closure on these grounds has never been successfully challenged in court by an SEV).

 


Sheffield

Spearmint Rhino Sheffield has shut! Please tell the council to support all its former lap dancers, adopt a zero policy to the strip trade and tackle the rest of Sheffield’s notorious sex industry.

 

 

Pre-filled Email not working? 

Just copy and paste the letter below to

To: [email protected]

Bcc: [email protected] if you like

……………………………………………….

Dear Licensing,

 

I am glad to hear the notorious Spearmint Rhino is no longer seeking to renew its license.

 

But I urge you to support its lap dancers both with alternative work/training and with mental health support, if needed. As ‘self employed’ workers, none have been entitled to furlough. Many will feel they cannot move out of the sex trade and will have turned to equally damaging and dangerous webcamming (a woman has even been killed through this by self asphyxiation).

 

Now is your chance – in fact the council has an absolute duty of care – to support these women out of the sex industry altogether, perhaps by taking advantage of initiatives like the Government Kickstart Scheme.

 

Please also now adopt a zero policy to Sexual Entertainment Venues to help ensure the city never licenses a strip club again, with all the harm that goes hand-in-hand with this, or your Swinger’s club (with 2 reported rapes, including 1 conviction and a prosecution pending trial).

 

Please also take the opportunity to adopt zero tolerance towards the rest of the equally visible local sex trade (Sheffield’s numerous brothels, massage parlours etc – some with their own TV shows), whilst fully supporting all women out. A hugely successful blue print for this already exists as this was enacted in Ipswich. This is a highly cost effective and achievable way to end the human misery (and the huge criminality) of the sex industry.

 

Thank you

 


 

 

Bristol

DEADLINE 22 Sep
Bristol’s city centre strip clubs (SEVs) are applying to be relicensed, even though they cannot open due to Covid.

You Do Not Need to be Local to object

Use our pre-filled email and add any other relevant info
– Any relevant expertise (a sexual violence expert, GP etc)
– Personal experience of the harm of the strip industry
– Include your name and address (council should redact these)

Pre-filled Email not working? 

Just copy and paste the letter below & send to

To: [email protected]
Bcc: [email protected]

………………………………………..

Re: Objection to Urban Tiger 20/03322/SEV and Central Chambers 20/03326/SEV

I object to the relicensing of both these strip clubs (by the same applicant) due to:

Inappropriate locality – they are near many places deemed inappropriate in your own licensing policy (in the city centre and near the university, transport hubs, places of worship, family leisure facilities etc). The council should be aware that numerous legal precedents have now shown that strip club operators have no legal grounds to challenge a refusal to relicense on these grounds.

 

Incompatibility with Equality law – The council must abide by equality law in all licensing decisions. And it is impossible to license an SEV and not contravene this as SEVs promote sex inequality, harassment and poor relations between the sexes, as numerous experts have stated. Two successful High Court cases against Sheffield City Council (a third pending) on the grounds of breach of equality law, further indicate this.

 

Please note, the harm done to many women in the industry (often not recognised until you leave) and to all in wider society is not ‘balanced out‘ by the supposed lack of harm to some in this industry. Nor by the fact that some in the industry state they chose it, it is their right or they enjoy it and find it empowering.

 

Further, it is not pro-equalities to license strip clubs in order to ‘keep women in work’ or ‘out of prostitution‘ or ‘stop the industry going underground’. In fact a large body of evidence, including from the Home Office, shows that the strip industry itself drives prostitution, similarly its high street presence drives the normalising of stripping in other ‘less safe’ venues, such as private parties.

 

The council should also be aware that it is not beholden to relicense these clubs simply because it has in the past. On the contrary, legal experts categorically state that relicensing should not be a rubber stamping exercise. Rather, the council is fully entitled to look with fresh eyes at every licensing hearing – that is why these are held annually. Legal expertise is also very clear  that there need be no material change whatsoever in order to refuse a license that was previously granted. Clearly Covid means there are very material changes now at play.

 

That is why I urge you not to relicense these venues. Instead the council should focus on supporting alternative, equality law-compliant, businesses AND ensure former lap dancers are employed there in new roles that do not involve them being bought as sexual entertainment.

 

 


Sheffield

DEADLINE 27 May

You Do Not Need to be Local

Please include your job or expertise, if  you feel it might be relevant (eg teacher, GP, academic etc) and if you feel  unsafe, have been harassed or avoid the area around strip clubs

 

Pre-filled Email not working? 

Just copy and paste the letter below to

To: [email protected]

Bcc: [email protected] if you like

you should include your name and address which the council should fully redact

 

Concerned about your personal details being made public?

Send to : [email protected]

The council made 700 respondents emails public last year and not all personal information was fully redacted. Although the Council  has reassured us that it has a new system in place, if this concerns you, please send your objection to us and we will redact your details and send on to the council

 

 

The Letter:

 

Dear Licensing

I object to the relicensing of Spearmint Rhino Sheffield because of :

1. Coronavirus: Discretionary Grounds of inappropriate layout, character and condition of the premises

The social distancing and protective measures necessary now and for the foreseeable future because of Covid-19 cannot possibly take place in a strip club. This makes the layout, character and condition of the premises inappropriate.

Refusal to license on these grounds cannot be successfully challenged:  the strip club operator can only challenge this via the High Court and no such challenge has ever been successful. The High Court frequently does not even give leave for the case to proceed.

 

2. Coronavirus: Statutory Grounds under The Human Rights Act Article 2

Coronavirus puts all those in the venue (performers and punters) at serious and life-threatening risk –  a possible breach of the Human right act 1988 Article 2 ‘Right to Life’  whereby ‘Public authorities should consider the right to life when making decisions that might put an individual in danger or that affect  life expectancy’.

 

3. Coronavirus: Statutory Grounds under The Crime and Disorder Act 1998

Even if new ‘regulations’ were suggested by the club (like full PPE and disinfecting poles/podiums/booths in between each performance!), it would be an act of gross (and very possibly criminal) negligence by the council to accept these given the club was STILL BREACHING Conditions in Jan 2020; the 200 breaches confirmed in 2019 and the entire chain’s well documented, decades long record of breaches.

 

4. Discretionary Grounds of Inappropriate Locality

The location of this venue is in direct breach of your 2011 policy under which the council must operate as it has conceded its most recent policy is unlawful. This policy  states (p6) that the council will not license strip clubs near schools, mental health facilities or those for other vulnerable people, the cultural hub or central gateway to the city.

But the club is 3 mins walk from the city’s major gateway – its only railway station. It is in close proximity to: charities that support people with drug and alcohol addiction; services for survivors of sexual violence; services for young LGBT people; a college for 13-18 year olds; a children’s library and a school supporting young people with special educational needs. It is also essentially ‘on campus’ of Sheffield Hallam University (which could include Scottish students as young as 17).

Sheffield council’s own Public Health body stated the location was inappropriate at the licensing hearing for the club in both 2018 and 2019.

Refusal to license on the ground of inappropriate locality cannot be successfully challenged: a strip club operator can only challenge this via the High Court. No such challenge has ever been successful. The High Court frequently does not even give leave for the case to proceed.

 

5. Statutory Grounds under the Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act 2010 is a statutory provision that must be applied to this licensing decision. However, the council has already conceded two Judicial Reviews which show it is breaching equality law both in its licensing of this club and in its entire strip club licensing policy. A third Judicial Review is now pending.

 

6. Discretionary Grounds of Unsuitable Applicant

[many of which also include: Statutory Grounds under the Crime & Disorder Act 1998 and Equality Act 2010]:

 Discrepancies in Information provided – Unsuitable Applicant

  • There have been numerous discrepancies in the information provided by the club operator to the council over years. This was highlighted at the club’s licensing hearing last year and includes statements that there was ‘full CCTV’ coverage and there are not ‘fully enclosed’ booths, when this is known not to be the case.

 

Financial Concerns– Unsuitable Applicant

  • The entire chain has been operating at increasing and substantial loss (now several £millions) for several years. This is particularly concerning when the industry constantly states men often spend £100K in one night and when financial fraud has been shown to be rife in the strip trade. Instead of continuing to license a business that is not paying tax due to ‘operating at a loss’ so not contributing to the economy and is clearly not a sustainable business model surely it is preferable to license a sustainable business that runs at profit and contributes to the economy?

 

  • Whatsmore, how does it make any sense whatsoever to license a strip club that CANNOT open for the next 1-2 years due to corona-social distancing when you could instead license a different business that could open RIGHT NOW (like a take away, shop, cafe) – and where the club’s current staff could work? Surely this is the best, perhaps only, way to ‘support women in the industry’ and ‘stop them from being unemployed/destitute/turning to prostitution’ which is constantly stated will be the case if the strip club doesn’t stay open?

 

History of Licensing Breaches across the chain– Unsuitable Applicant/ Breach of Equality & Criminal Law

 

Historical and ongoing abuse at Sheffield branch– Unsuitable Applicant, Breach of Equality & Criminal Law

  • Whistle blowers at the Sheffield club have testified to historic exploitation and abuse, information given to the council in 2018:

https://youtu.be/3lWqjNQtNpk
https://youtu.be/JrsoPER9CJQ
https://youtu.be/CLpUOYeG08c

This is not just historic, it was still occurring, and reported, at last year’s licensing hearing:

http://democracy.sheffield.gov.uk/documents/s36285/Appendix D – Representation Objection 381-390.pdf  p 828

 

Ongoing Breach of Licensing conditions – Unsuitable Applicant, Breach of Equality & possibly Criminal Law

  • In 2019, 200 breaches by Spearmint Rhino Sheffield were confirmed by the council of extreme levels of sexual contact/sex acts (including masturbation and oral sex).

 

Ongoing Breach of Licensing Conditions – Unsuitable Applicant

  • In 2020, Council inspection showed there were STILL breaches at Spearmint Rhino Sheffield including hugging (described merely as ‘physical’ contact but which is surely sexual given it occurs presumably while women are still naked and after sexual performances/exposure of genitals), apparent ‘blind spots’ and unfit record-keeping by the club

 

7. Exit and Prevent

I ask the Council to end its policy of ‘license and ignore’ (continually licensing the strip trade and turning a blind eye to Sheffield’s many brothels – one of which is so embedded and emboldened it even features on TV show ‘A Very British Brothel’).

Social distancing might be in place for 1-2 years. The sex trade, already deeply harmful, is clearly totally unsustainable. Now is the time for all councils to tackle this deeply abusive industry head on and support women to exit ALL branches of the sex industry and into alternative work. Not only is there a 2:1 Return on Investment in doing this, the Government has now committed £76 million funding that could be used to support this. Given that up to 90% of punters would not buy sex if faced with a small fine, points off their driving license, being ‘named’ or put on the Sex Offenders Register, the demand for the sex industry could effectively be obliterated with minimal effort.

This council has an absolute obligation to finally do the right thing for the women it has allowed to be abused in this strip club (and throughout its thriving sex trade) for decades. Now is the time to act.

 

 


Halifax


DEADLINE 3 Dec

You Do Not Need to be Local

Calderdale Council is considering relicensing La Salsa strip club in Halifax. Underage girls, sexual contact and prostitution was exposed at its sister branch in Huddersfield. The man responsible for both clubs has also been taken to court for tax evasion. Last year Calderdale council initially refused the license but caved in when the owner threatened them with a law suit (even though he would not have won). 

  • Please add any personal experiences of the industry
  • Please add your name and address

SAFETY ALERT: If you have worked in the industry or have any concerns over confidentiality we urge you to tell the Council you cannot give your address. Please tell them that, when considering the licensing of its strip club, Sheffield City Council leaked 700 emails (including those of lap dancers and rape victims). It also did not properly redact names and other details then made public online.

Pre-Filled Email Not Working?

Copy and paste the message below and send to: [email protected]

Dear Licensing

I urge you to shut down La Salsa strip club and support all its lap dancers out.

It is in a totally unfit location near a women’s shelter. And the owner is clearly unfit – sexual contact, underage girls and suspected trafficking at his other La Salsa club in Huddersfield. He’s even been taken to court for tax evasion.

I understand you DID refuse this license last year but the owner threatened you with legal action and you caved in. This is unacceptable. The purpose of strip club legislation is to give control back to Councils. You clearly don’t want this club but its owner has over ridden your will and the entire purpose of the legislation. BUT if you refuse on the grounds of locality strip clubs CANNOT successfully legally challenge this.

You also cannot regulate this club and safeguard the women in it or adhere to equality law. The entire industry operates by providing sexual contact or more. This has been documented in countless clubs across the UK. Clubs get around all regulation put in place – CCTV, council checks etc and ensure all staff will swear it is well run.

A large body of research and testimony from former dancers show sexual harassment and assault is rampant, that clubs are an entry point for prostitution, that they are full of vulnerable women, who operate in denial in order to survive. You cannot stop this, you are feeding this. You must close this club and support all its dancers out who you have put in harms way.

 


Bristol

Online Survey

DEADLINE 10 Nov
You Do Not Need to be Local 

Bristol is consulting on whether to have 3 strip clubs and 4 sex shops! Tell them NO. Tips below on how to fill out key parts of their online survey (2 mins!):

-Que 4:  ‘Strongly Disagree’

-Que 5:  ‘Strongly Disagree’

-Que 6:  ‘Strongly Disagree’

-Que 7:  ‘Disagree’

-Que 9:

  • Old Market: ‘Strongly Disagree’
  • City Centre Locality: ‘Strongly Disagree’
  • Bishopston/Redland etc: Strongly Agree’ (with zero strip clubs here)

-Que 10 comment: Ask for zero sexual ‘entertainment’ venues and add any personal concerns or experiences of the strip industry

 

 


Sheffield

DEADLINE extended to 31 Oct
You Do Not Need to be Local 

Sheffield is consulting on its policy for Sexual ‘Entertainment’ Venues. It’s proposed new policy puts NO LIMITS on the number that may operate. This is despite its own report exposing 200 breaches at its one current strip club, of the ‘highly respectable’ Spearmint Rhino chain. And despite 2 reported rapes (including one rape conviction) at its ‘Swinger’s Club’, complete with ‘viewing gallery’.

  • Use our pre-filled Email
  • Add your name at the bottom
  • Add any other concerns about the strip industry

 

Pre-Filled Email Not Working?

No worries! Just copy and paste the info below and send to: [email protected]

Dear Licensing

 

Introduce a policy for ZERO Sexual ‘Entertainment’ Venues in Sheffield

1. There is NO LOCATION that is appropriate

 

2. Breach of Safeguarding & Licensing, Equality and Criminal Law

Swingers Clubs: There have now been 2 reported rapes, including 1 rape conviction, at your one currently licensed ‘Swingers’ Club, complete with a ‘viewing gallery’.

Strip Clubs: The Council’s own report found over 200 breaches of extreme sexual contact and suggested unfit management at your one strip club – of the highly reputable, stringently regulated Spearmint Rhino chain.

These breaches were happening despite CCTV, council checks, security guards, ‘house mums’, a wealth of codes and policies and years of sworn statements from countless club staff that it was highly regulated and safe. Staff are still testifying to this.

The entire strip industry operates by providing sexual contact and there is nothing any Council can do to mitigate this.

More CCTV is meaningless – Spearmint Rhino Camden has 63 cameras and yet ‘dancing’ there also involves widespread sexual contact and women trying to prostitute themselves.

Clubs’ employing in-house inspectors is meaningless, as now being practised at Spearmint Rhino Sheffield. The head of the strip chain even knows when ‘independent’ inspections take place.

Strip clubs are also inherently linked to wider crime – drugs & dealing, credit card fraud, tax evasion and, most concerningly, are simply a  feeder for local brothels. It has been testified that pimps operate outside Spearmint Rhino Sheffield.

 

4.    Ensure TRAINING and regular refreshers for Councillors and Council staff

This is urgently needed on safeguarding, the harm of the strip industry,  the futile of regulatory measures and on SEV and Equality law. This must be carried out by those harmed by the industry or their advocates. Not only do they present the only reliable source of information but training provided to other councils by advocates of the strip industry has done nothing whatsoever to alleviate its harm.

 

5.    Take strident action on WHISTLE BLOWING

There must be an easy means for women from sexual ‘entertainment’ venues to whilstle blow and strident action must be taken when they do.

 

6.    Provide Quality EXIT SUPPORT for all lap dancers for any strip club that is shut.

 

7.   Take strident action against Sheffield’s numerous BROTHELS

These are illegal. Shut them down, prosecute those running them, ensure assets are seized and support every single woman out.

 

 


Bristol

DEADLINE 30 Sep

You Do Not Need to be Local 

Bristol is consulting on whether to renew its 2 ‘family run’ strip clubs in the heart of the city. Tell them No!

  • Use our pre-filled Email
  • Add your name and address (will be redacted)
  • Add any other concerns about the strip industry

PRE-FILLED EMAIL NOT WORKING?

No worries! Just copy and paste the info below and send to: [email protected]

Dear Licensing

I am writing to add my voice to the call from experts who advise on equality between women and men in the city who are asking you to refuse the licence for this sexual entertainment venue. I object to the licence applications for: 1) Central Chambers 19/04692/SEV and 2) Urban Tiger 19/04693/SEV on the grounds that:

Renewal would place the Council in breach of its ongoing obligation to have regard to the Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) under the Equality Act 2010. Bristol has a number of national, international and local obligations, policies and strategies which make clear the importance to the city and its residents of equality, safety and women’s safety in particular. All decisions are required to be informed by the PSED.

In addition, the location of both venues is entirely unsuitable: “Lap dancing clubs and historic city centres trying to promote a family-friendly image are not a desirable mix, particularly with a growing residential population on the doorstep” (Philip Kolvin QC arguing successfully in 2015 for Chester Council not to renew an existing strip club licence). The committee is entirely entitled to take a “fresh look” at how it feels about the suitability of the location and is not in any way bound by previous decisions. Your decision not to renew on this ground is not subject to appeal – it cannot be successfully legally challenged by an SEV.

 


Camden


DEADLINE 9th Sept
You Do Not Need to be Local 

Camden is consulting on its Strip Club licensing policy. Despite stating ‘zero clubs’ are appropriate, it rubber stamps all pre-existing clubs and believes its clubs can be ‘stringently regulated’. But our undercover investigations have shown sexual contact & offers of £600 ‘dances’ at Spearmint Rhino and another club operating as a brothel: full of presumed trafficked women, £200 ‘hand jobs’ in the club, pimps lined up outside to take punters to the ‘after party’ brothel where the lap dancers are put to work.


Ealing

DEADLINE 30 June
You Do Not Need to be Local 

  • Use our pre-filled Email
  • Add your postal address (will not be made public) at the top
  • Add your name at the bottom
  • Add any other concerns about the club/strip industry

 


Spearmint Rhino

DEADLINE 27 May
You Do Not Need to be Local 

  • Use our pre-filled Email
  • Add your postal address (will not be made public) at the top
  • Add your name at the bottom
  • Add any other concerns about the club/strip industry
  • Join us for the licensing hearing at 10AM 11th June Sheffield Town Hall 

 

 


Rotherham

DEADLINE 15 May
You Do Not Need to be Local
Email Licensing: [email protected]
Please adapt, include any experience of harassment etc you have experienced in relation to strip clubs:
Dear Licensing
re Renoirs and Rouge Strip Club
Please do not allow Rotherham’s strip club, Renoirs and Rouge, to allow full nudity instead of ‘just’ toplessness. My understanding is that the licensing conditions at this club have already been broken. If you allow full nudity the breaches and exploitation to performers is clearly going to increase.
The men leaving the venue will also be even more sexually aroused than if there were ‘just’ toplessness. And having drunk, hyper aroused men is going to increase crime and disorder and public nuisance and decrease public safety in terms of the harassment and intimidation women will experience from them in the streets.
A recent visit by Private Investigators at Manchester clubs showed sexual contact was standard. At Sheffield’s Spearmint Rhino  extreme sexual contact including women having sex with each other was exposed.
Sexual contact, and more, is how the entire industry operates. Nearly 100  incidences in over 60 clubs (at least 1/3 of the UK strip trade) have now been recorded: www.notbuyingit.org.uk/Publications#Press.
What’s more, it cannot be ‘regulated’ – clubs get around any controls that are put in place. Even Sheffield’s club had passed every secret Council spot check and CCTV check with flying colours! Whilst management and staff always testify that the rules are never broken. 
So if you continue to license  your  club, particularly if you allow full nudity, you are licensing a venue where you  know  sexual contact will be taking place – and very likely a great deal more. You will basically be licensing a form of brothel, which is illegal.
Thank you 

 


Harrogate

DEADLINE 9 April

Please adapt letter below and email to: [email protected] 
Dear Licensing
I urge you not relicense The King’s Club. It is in a location that is inappropriate according to the Council’s policy  –  on a high street near shops, cafes and the theatre. And you have every right not to license this club for that reason alone. 
In addition, rule breaching (sexual contact and very often worse) goes hand-in-hand with the industry and cannot be stopped. 
The Council has already had to close one strip club, Villa Mercedes, precisely because of this. Extreme levels of contact/prostitution have just been exposed at Sheffield’s Spearmint Rhino.  Abuse has also already been recorded in many other Yorkshire strip clubs: Huddersfield (2 clubs, 3 times), Doncaster, Rotherham (currently under police investigation). These are not ‘isolated incidences’. These are part of an industry wide pattern -‘rule breaching’ and abuse has been recorded in over 50 clubs across the UK (1/3 of the entire strip trade): www.notbuyingit.org.uk/StripSleaze
All attempts to regulate the industry are futile: Sheffield’s Spearmint Rhino, for instance was thought to be fully compliant by the Council – CCTV and spot checks have been clean, always. By granting this license you are licensing a venue where breach of licensing conditions is inevitable and you are directly fuelling criminality both within this club (where sexual contact and other forms of prostitution is inevitable) and more widely (harassment of women outside clubs  is routine and clubs feed the local sex trade with all the harm and costs to the authorities associated with it). 
Thank you

 


Rotherham

DEADLINE 20 Feb

Rotherham is consulting now on its policy for strip clubs, sex shops & sex cinemas. It only takes a few mins to fill in the consultation form. You DO NOT have to be local:

1. Go to the Form here

2. Tick  ‘Very Strongly’ in every box.

3. Under ‘Regulating’ explain how strip clubs cannot be regulated – as has already been exposed in Rotherham’s one strip club where sexual contact and more was rife.  CCTV has countless blind spots (which are often pointed out to dancers); security guards are often paid to turn a blind eye or are often the harassers and abusers themselves – both of women in clubs and outside.

4. Under ‘Additional Comments’ ask for a policy for NO strip clubs; for Rotherham to close its one club and provide exit support for the young women working in it. The Council is directly responsible for the abuse they have experienced by allowing the club to open and continue operating even after this abuse was exposedYou could also talk about your experience of strip clubs  (e.g. harassment outside them or having to avoid the area near strip clubs etc).


Red Rooms – Camden

Red Room has a reputation for prostitution and trafficking inside and pimps punting for local brothels outside. The Council had to use considerable sums of local tax payers money to ensure a court ruling to stop the club from having an entire floor of private booths, in breach of Camden’s strip club licensing policy.

DEADLINE 31st DEC

 

Object

1. Download Template Letter HERE
[prepared with WEP Camden]

2. Fill in Council’s online form HERE

3. Notes on Filling in the Form:

  • You do not need to be local, although it helps if you have visited the area
  • The postcode section on the form is temperamental!
  • Object under ‘Prevention of Crime and Disorder’ & ‘Ensuring Public Safety’
  • Under ‘What is your Representation’ say ‘see attached doc’
  • Attach the Template Letter ​
    (please add any additional info as to why this club should not be licensed e.g. any fear of harassment etc that you’ve had outside this or any other strip club)

 


Parker’s – Camden

DEADLINE 31st DEC

1. Download Template Letter HERE
[prepared with WEP Camden]

2. Fill in Council’s online form HERE
3. Notes on Filling in the Form:

  • You do not need to be local to Camden, although it helps if you have visited the area
  • The postcode section on the form is temperamental!
  • Object under ‘Prevention of Crime and Disorder’ & ‘Ensuring Public Safety’
  • Under ‘What is your Representation’ say ‘see attached doc’
  • Attach the Template Letter ​
    (please add any additional info as to why the location of this club is inappropriate or any experiences of harassment etc outside) 

 


Spearmint Rhino – Camden

License due for renewal for Camden’s most notorious strip club, Spearmint Rhino – a strip chain with a long history of sexual contact, prostitution and other illegal activities.

Object by Fri 23rd Nov 2018

How To Object

1. Download Template Letter HERE

[prepared with WEP Camden]

 

2. Go to Council’s online form HERE

 

3. Notes on Filling in the Form:

  • You do not need to be local to Camden to object, although it helps if you have experience of living /working in or visiting the neighbourhood
  • The postcode section on the form is temperamental!
  • Object under ‘Prevention of Crime and Disorder’ & ‘Ensuring Public Safety’
  • Under ‘What is your Representation’ say ‘see attached doc’
  • Attach the Template Letter ​
    (please add any additional info as to why the location of this club is inappropriate or any experiences of harassment etc outside)

 4. Spread the Word

Please spread the word on social media by Sharing This Link

5. Join WEP Camden

We’re thrilled to be working with WEP Camden – who are taking the lead in challenging Camden’s 7 strip clubs (alongside lobbying for exit support for performers when clubs close). Join the fight, join WEP Camden today!

Find them on Twitter here: @WEPCamden

 


Camden

 

DEADLINE 25 Nov
You Do Not Need to be Local 

Camden is considering relicensing 3 of its strip clubs, including ‘stringently regulated’ Spearmint Rhino where sexual contact was exposed in March as well as pimps outside. Tell them to shut down all these clubs and offer immediate exit support (emotional and practical) to all lap dancers – who are being abused in these unregulatable environments, with many coming from backgrounds of trauma. 

Pre-Filled Email Not Working?

Just copy and paste the info below and send to: [email protected]

Dear Licensing

Do Not Relicense Secrets, Spearmint Rhino and Red Rooms.

Do not relicense these clubs on the basis of inappropriate locality, as already stated in your policy, and support all lap dancers out of the industry.

The fact is, you CANNOT regulate the strip industry.

Spearmint Rhino Camden must be the ‘best regulated club’ in the country – with 63 CCTV cameras,  spotlessly clean council checks, incident logs, rigorous ‘training’ of all staff, security, house ‘mum’, codes of conduct pasted all over the venue and statements of compliance by all staff. Yet there is a history spanning 2 decades of breaches at this club (and others in the chain). Earlier this year, Not Buying It exposed sexual contact as standard in the club.

It is actually quite shocking that the Council is considering relicensing this venue before completing or disseminating the findings of its own investigation into these findings.

Journalists and ex-dancers have also reported sexual contact rife at Secrets. Whilst Red Rooms has the reputation of being little more than a brothel. At licensing hearings, this club testifies that it has very few customers with ‘dances’ going for £200. I understand it has fought in the courts to retain its private booths. Why do you think that might be?

There is now overwhelming evidence that sexual contact – and worse – is how the entire strip industry operates. This is stated by countless women who have left and speak against it and by over 100 incidences recorded in relation to  1/3 of the UK strip industry.  You cannot look at any one club in isolation, you have to look at the industry as a whole. Because this makes it almost inconceivable that any club can operate ‘cleanly’ – particularly in Camden where there are numerous nearby clubs, both in Camden and neighbouring boroughs, that are not. Why would any man go to a clean club if he can get sexual contact and more at one down the road?

Apart from sexual contact inside, Not Buying It exposed pimps outside Spearmint Rhino. Touts (aka pimps) have been an intractable problem for years with this club according to police logs and even a Judge.  Residents have also testified to pimps posing as cabbies outside Secrets and Red Rooms.

Testimony from countless women who have left the industry and research also clearly shows that they are a hub for exploitation and abuse, including assaults. Research in the USA and now a 2019 Home Office report on prostitution also show that they are a direct feeder for women to then enter prostitution.

Testimony from former performers and research also shows that those in the industry are not just abused whilst in it but have very often come from abusive backgrounds. Ongoing trauma means dissociation has become a coping mechanism – it means you cannot feel the pain of the abuse. That is often why women in the industry so vehemently deny any negatives, challenge any who challenge it, have a fierce sense of ‘higher loyalty’ to the clubs and often appear desperate to remain in the industry. While you are in an abusive environment you can continue to dissociate and avoid feeling the trauma of that abuse, so this is actively sought out. When you leave and are no longer in an abusive environment, you can no longer dissociate and the pain of the trauma can be overwhelming. That is why those in the industry are often its more vehement advocates.

That is also why it is imperative you offer quality exit support to all women when you finally stop licensing these hubs of exploitation and to any women who wishes to leave any of your strip clubs in the meantime.

 

 

 

 

 

Deadline 17th Feb

Portsmouth are due to relicense  Elegance strip club – nestled near 2 schools and a church, despite a policy that states clubs near schools and churches ‘will normally be refused’ and that there is no location in Portsmouth that is appropriate for a strip club.

Use our pre-filled email. Add your  name and address – which WILL be redacted by the Council

 

 

Pre-fill not Working?

Click here

No worries, just copy and paste the below, add your name and address and send to: [email protected]

 

…………………………………….

re ‘Elegance’ Strip Club

Please refuse this license on the discretionary grounds of locality:

  1. Your policy states there is NO location where a strip club is appropriate (7.10). Licensing this strip club means you are automatically breaching your own policy – a policy which was widely consulted on by your tax paying electorate.

 

  1. This club is clearly in a totally inappropriate locality. It is next to 2 schools and a church. The area is also rife with vulnerable adults and multi-occupancy dwellings. Women have told you at previous hearings that they are harassed outside it, which clearly effects their ability to use the area comfortably, if at all.

 

It’s location is in clear breach of what is deemed suitable in your policy at 7.11d), 7.14 and 7.15. In fact your policy explicitly states that strip clubs will normally be refused if close to places of worship, children’s centres or similar (7.15).

 

There have been two successful High Court cases against Sheffield City Council for failing to abide by equality law in its pro-strip industry stance. This included not acknowledging the impact of strip venues on equality in terms of the local area or on wider society. Portsmouth is equally liable to such, costly, legal challenge.

 

  1. Your policy states that ‘the presumption to refuse does not apply to existing clubs’. This simply reiterates SEV case law that ‘regard’ must be given to the fact that a license is already held but no more. However the council appears to be wrongfully interpreting this to mean ‘existing clubs cannot be refused’ on the basis of locality. Such an interpretation is unlawful and a breach of SEV legislation. This has been confirmed by Judges and other legal experts:

“Parliament has drawn no distinction between grant and renewal of an SEV licence .. To make a distinction would fetter the discretion of the local authority in cases of renewal, which Parliament has not done”

R v Birmingham City Council ex parte Sheptonhurst Ltd [1990] 1 AII ER 1026  p12

 

  1. Councils have sweeping powers to refuse to relicense on the grounds of locality. This is regardless of any change in locality or any other material changes whatsoever. This has been widely confirmed by case law, judges and other experts:

‘licensing authorities are entitled to ‘have a fresh look’ and may refuse to relicense ‘even where there has been no material change in circumstances” Kolvin, QC et al

 

When representing local residents at the relicensing hearing of a Chester club Philip Kolvin, QC, confirmed: ‘this year’s committee is entitled to come to a different conclusion from last years’ and ‘merely the fact that a number of people are concerned justifies refusal’.  The license was successfully refused on the grounds of inappropriate locality.

[Philip Kolvin, QC, is the legal authority on SEV licensing – he wrote the legislation.]

 

“.. the statute imposes no constraint upon a Local Authority’s discretion when it is considering a renewal ..In my judgement it is not perverse to refuse a renewal where there is no change in the character of the relevant locality or in the use to which any premises in the locality are put.”

R v Birmingham City Council ex parte Sheptonhurst Ltd  27 p 11 (referred to in Thompson v Oxford City Council)

 

“.. you have to make a value judgement, that’s why you are elected.. the law states that you can refuse simply because the venue is in the wrong place.. ”  Kolvin, QC

 

5. Furthermore, operators have no legal grounds to challenge such a decision. Those that do must go to the High Court, a very difficult route. None have ever succeeded. Frequently the case is instantly dismissed without being heard:

“ if the licensing authority refuses to renew on the ground that it would be inappropriate having regard to the character of the relevant locality, it must give its reasons for refusal .. If the reasons given are rational, that is to say properly relevant to the ground for refusal, then the court cannot interfere. “

Court of Appeal O’Connor  28 p12 (referred to in Thompson v Oxford City Council)

 

6. In fact, all Councils need do is give the reason why they refused:

Although it is important to give reasons for a decision to refuse, those reasons need only be sufficient to enable the losing party to know why he has lost

[Legal Analysis of Judge’s ruling to refuse a license renewal for a South Buckinghamshire strip club]

 

Portsmouth council is breaching its own policy, SEV legislation and equality law. This puts the council at risk of legal challenge by those who object to its strip clubs.

 

Please abide by your own policy and the wishes of your tax payers – the voters whom you are supposed to represent, particularly the most vulnerable. Stop re-licensing this strip club, particularly now when it is not open, cannot open for some considerable time and whose primary workers (lap dancers) have not been entitled to furlough all this time (as ‘self employed’ workers). Close this club and support its former lap dancers into safe, alternative and viable employment and training.

 

 

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close