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Lapdancing clubs face ban
LAPDANCING is set to be banned from large areas of Oxford under stringent new licensing guidelines.
Oxford city councillors are expected to adopt extra powers which will enable them to reject licensing applications for “sexual entertainment venues” near schools, churches and tourist attractions.
A full council meeting will decide whether to adopt the powers, under Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982, on Monday.
Thirst Lodge, in Pennyfarthing Place and BabySimple, on Cowley Road, are the city’s only licensed sexual entertainment venues, although BabySimple no longer offers lapdancing.
If the council agrees to adopt the changes it will almost certainly spell the end for lapdancing at Thirst Lodge and will ban similar entertainment from most areas of Oxford.
Last night council leader Bob Price said: “There are quite large parts of the city where lapdancing would not be appropriate.
“We have encountered vociferous opposition on doorsteps. Some venues will be forced to close down when they reapply for licences because they will contravene the new guidelines.”
The new Government legislation, which came into force on April 6, means local authorities can choose to place greater licensing constraints on sexual entertainment venues.
Thirst Lodge has offered lapdancing from Monday to Saturday, between 9pm and 3am, since March.
Nearby St Ebbe’s Church is appealing against the licensing decision at Oxford Magistrates’ Court this month.
Mr Price said: “Thirst Lodge is in about the worst possible place and has caused a lot of upset.
“It certainly contravenes a number of the new guidelines. Dependent on the outcome of the court case, the council will apply the new pointers at any future licence application should they be adopted. We are trying to develop a very strong tourist offer in the city for the long term economic benefit of Oxford.
“What is not appropriate is a venue which draws a rather sleazy clientele looking for something which is less than wholesome.”
St Ebbe’s Church spokesman Dr Lucy Bannister said: “We are delighted that the city council is taking such firm action and are determined not to allow Thirst Lodge to remain open.
“We are disappointed that these rules were not in place when the original application went in. We can’t help but think it was submitted with the knowledge the law was going to change.”
Nobody from Thirst Lodge or BabySimple was available for comment.
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