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Limit set on Norwich lap dancing clubs - amid fears of 'extras' being offered

PUBLISHED: 11:49 07 June 2019 | UPDATED: 12:46 07 June 2019

Prince of Wales Road Norwich in the rain

Prince of Wales Road Norwich in the rain

Archant

A limit has been imposed on the number of Norwich lap-dancing venues - triggered by fears the performers could feel pressured into offering "extras" because of growing competition.

Erin Fulton-McAlister, Labour councillor Wensum. Pic: Labour Party.Erin Fulton-McAlister, Labour councillor Wensum. Pic: Labour Party.

Norwich City Council consulted the public about the sexual entertainment venues - and the resulting comments gave an "alarming" insight into the industry.

The consultation came back strongly in favour of a cap. Some of the respondents were dancers, and they raised fears that the market could be saturated.

One example read: "As a supervisor in one of the currently operating clubs, when there is a lot of this type of club in one area it forces pressure on dancers to compete in a nasty matter where they will be forced to provide 'extra' services which would amount to breaking the law.

"The high standards will disappear, rules will be broken and this will lead to a dangerous environment."

Ben Price, city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet. Picture: Norwich GreensBen Price, city councillor for Thorpe Hamlet. Picture: Norwich Greens

Another response, which came from a dancer, spoke of "extra pressure" - a response which prompted particular concern from the licensing committee's vice chairman Erin Fulton-McAlister.

Dr Fulton-McAlister, Labour councillor for Wensum, said; "The fact this person has used to word 'extra' is particularly pertinent - it is clear pressure is already there."

Ben Price, Green Party councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, said: "It really alarms me that industry workers are already talking about pressures to provide illegal services. This suggests the current levels are more than sufficient."

The possibility of introducing a cap has been up for discussed for some time, with the proposals originally debated in September.

This has now been agreed, with the cap set at two venues in the city's late night entertainment zone, two in the city centre and zero outside of the centre.

The number in Prince of Wales Road area though has been set at one beneath the amount of licences presently held - due to a licence for Lace being approved as the consultation was being carried out.

However, the cap is simply set to provide guidance to councillors when considering licences - and is not the sole consideration if new venues were to apply.

The committee was also told the cap could not having bearing when any of the three existing clubs in that area come to renew their licences.

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