In 2003, there was a proposal by Des Leigh to take over a shop in Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, and turn it into a lap-dancing club. Public outcry resulted in a petition along with a hundred and twelve letters of opposition to the idea. Common sense prevailed, and Mr Leigh’s proposal was halted.
Five years on, and recent weeks have seen another application in the offing for Tunbridge Wells, with contact being made with Tunbridge Wells Borough Council’s Licensing Department. This week’s Courier sees a front page story stating that the application is apparently on hold for the time being, apparently due to the credit crunch (“Lap Dance Club Plans On Hold”, Saturday October 18th – click here).
Two worries here – firstly that Labour’s Licensing Act 2003 places lap dancing clubs in the same category as cafes and restaurants, rather than places of sexual entertainment. Clearly this makes it far easier for this kind of club to spring up, as is evidenced by the number of clubs doubling since 2004. Far from Labour’s new legislation giving local communities more say over the number and kind of establishments opening in their locality, the new laws have made it far easier for these places to proliferate. (read the Local Government Association’s views on this, “People Left Exposed By Lap Dance Legislation” – click here)
Secondly, I was interested to see from the Courier’s article, that David Neve, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group at Tunbridge Wells Borough Council commented that he wasn’t against the application; “I am not opposed to the plan…” prints the paper.
Reminds me of the Liberal Democrat council who accepted a retrospective planning application for an ‘executive massage parlour’ in a residential road, as long as the owners put in a disabled ramp.
Enough is enough. Tunbridge Wells town centre has enough problems with its night time economy. Hardly a week goes by without trouble in town caused by the availability of alcohol, extended licensing hours and a stretched police force. Do we really want alcohol-fuelled men wandering around in the early hours, having spent the evening watching half-naked women gyrating for their amusement?
Please or offend, I am absolutely opposed to clubs such as this. They cater to a particular requirement among men, the acknowledgement of which would set a dangerous precedent for Tunbridge Wells. Maybe I’m alone in my views – why not use the poll below to give me your views?