Saturday, February 1, 2014
Plans to open a lap dancing and pole dancing club in Lowestoft town centre have prompted a wave of objections, amid claims it will be “totally inappropriate” for the area and fuel “degenerate behaviour”.
An application by Hazel Wilson and Stephen Barrett to create a “sexual entertainment venue” in Station Square will come under scrutiny on Wednesday from Waveney District Council’s licensing committee.
The pair are seeking permission to convert the former Vibe nightclub – on the first floor of a three-storey building next to the Bascule bridge – into what would be known as the Candy Lounge Gentleman’s Club.
If approved, the club would cater for a “maximum of 60 patrons” and open from 8pm to 3am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and a number of bank holidays including Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Mr Barrett, who was an assistant manager for five years at a lap dancing club in Cambridge, and Miss Wilson, who has worked as a lapdancer in more than 30 different venues and is a former Pole Idol UK winner, state that windows will be “boarded up and blacked out” and “people will not be allowed to loiter outside”.
But their application has prompted more than 30 objections, including concerns that the club would be close to the beach, railway station and town centre and fears that it might add to public nuisance.
The trustees and management team of Lowestoft Town Pastors initiative, which is run by local churches, raise “serious” objections to the application, stating: “In our view it would be totally inappropriate to allow a sex establishment at this location, given the character of the area.
“As one of only two river crossings, the main bridge funnels all vehicle and pedestrian traffic between north and south, including many vulnerable users of the night-time economy. The Candy Lounge would mean potential predators (men who have had alcohol and been sexually stimulated) looking for more ‘candy’ on the street, and bring them unavoidably into contact with vulnerable people, who have no other route available.”
Another objector, who lives nearby, says: “I was under the impression that the council were trying to regenerate Station Square, but this would be a step in the wrong direction and result in degenerate behaviour of already vulnerable people.”
Suffolk Pensioners Association also objects, saying: “Not only would it add to the heady mix of night-time problems but also spoil Lowestoft’s present reputation and projected image as a family-friendly seaside resort.”