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City council accused of procrastinating over lap-dancing club cap

PUBLISHED: 11:08 08 September 2018 | UPDATED: 11:08 08 September 2018

Sugar and Spice American Style Table Dancing, Prince of Wales road, Norwich.
Photo by Simon Finlay.

Sugar and Spice American Style Table Dancing, Prince of Wales road, Norwich. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Norwich City Council has been accused of stalling over plans to cap the number of lap-dancing clubs in the city.

David Raby, Green city councillor for the Town Close ward. Picture: Courtesy of David RabyDavid Raby, Green city councillor for the Town Close ward. Picture: Courtesy of David Raby

Draft proposals to tweak the council’s sexual entertainment policy went before its licensing committee this week, and included limiting the number of lap-dancing clubs in Norwich.

The draft sought to cap the number of venues in the city to three in the Prince of Wales Road area and one in the city centre - along with limiting the number of sex shops to one.

However, committee members opted against opening a consultation on the new policy, requesting officers closer examine what other cities have done with their policies.

While committee members did vote in favour of a cap, there were two main matters they wanted more research on - the number to set the limit at and whether to group sex shops, entertainment venues and sex cinemas together.

The decision has led to members of the city council’s Green group accusing members of “procrastinating” over the changes, which at the proposed rated would have prevented no further lap-dancing clubs opening in the area unless others closed.

David Raby, city councillor for the Town Close ward, said: “While we cannot eliminate sexual entertainment venues, they encourage demeaning attitudes towards women and may well be related to the proliferation of prostitution in neighbouring areas.

“The city council says it is committed to equality for all residents of Norwich and lap-dancing clubs can undermine that.”

Jo Henderson, Green councillor for the Thorpe Hamlet ward, added: “Many local residents feel unsafe walking a long Prince of Wales Road at night. I’ve heard from some people who stay in and others who take longer, more isolated routes.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe near their own homes and capping sex establishments will help.”

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: “The committee decided they would like more information about what other cities had agreed and experienced before they considered a cap on numbers.

“The committee asked officers to return with more details, therefore the consultation has been delayed until this part of the draft policy has been given further consideration.”

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