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New licensing rules limit city strip club numbers despite ‘loophole’ claims

PUBLISHED: 09:00 03 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:00 03 July 2020

The number of city strip clubs is set to be limited after councillors agreed a new licensing policy. Pictured, Prince of Wales Road, in Norwich. Photo: Neil Perry

The number of city strip clubs is set to be limited after councillors agreed a new licensing policy. Pictured, Prince of Wales Road, in Norwich. Photo: Neil Perry

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The number of city strip clubs is set to be limited after councillors agreed a new licensing policy and granted spot inspection powers.

Lesley Grahame, Green Party councillor for Thorpe Hamlet. Pic: Green Party.Lesley Grahame, Green Party councillor for Thorpe Hamlet. Pic: Green Party.

Councillors agreed to limit the number of licensed sexual entertainment venues (SEV) to two in the inner city and two in the wider outer city area.

All venues offering lap dancing, pole dancing and strip clubs must be licenced by the council.

A report on the measures stated that “concentration of licensed premises in a particular area can result in a potential fear of crime, anti-social behaviour, noise pollution and other disturbance”.

Norwich City councillors agreed the measures at a council meeting held on Tuesday, June 23.

READ MORE: City’s clubland could return to ‘glory days’ after lockdown, say bar bosses

And speaking after the meeting, Green Party councillor Lesley Grahame said better regulation of venues would lower the risk of exploitation risk of workers.

“I’m very pleased that clubs in Norwich will now be better regulated,” she said. “The city needs to protect employees and customers to operate safely without disturbing residents.”

She added: “Performers working at SEVs pay for their pitches but earn only a proportion of the cost of the dances they sell.

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“Better regulation should lessen the risk of exploitation of workers under pressure who were working in a gig economy long before the term was invented.

“I hope this new policy will also offer some reassurance to local residents.”

The Green Party also said there had previously been a loophole which meant individuals could operate in Norwich despite having been refused a licence elsewhere.

READ MORE: Revealed: Future plans for former Mercy nightclub

But Kevin Maguire, cabinet member for city environment, said there had been no loophole in the authority’s licensing process.

The council’s new policy states that it can refuse a licence to “a person who is for the time being disqualified from holding a licence following revocation”.

But if the city council revokes a licence holder’s permission, “this does not prevent a licence holder from holding a licence in another licensing authority area”.

Labour member Mr Maguire said: “I’m pleased to see that Ms Graham has praised city council officers and the licensing committee on this piece of work.”

He added: “However, there’s never been a loophole in the process for this activity but I’m glad that the committee members worked well with council officers to reach an agreed and positive outcome.”

READ MORE: Objections raised against Norwich lap dancing club licence


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