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Council adopts tougher rules on sex clubs

Lambeth Council plans to adopt tougher rules on strip clubs that will give the borough greater powers to stop them opening in the borough.

The new powers will give the council wider grounds for turning down applications for sex establishments, and local residents more of a say.

At the moment, the council can only turn down an application for a pole dancing, lap dancing or strip club if it can show that the club would cause an increase in crime, harm public safety, cause a public nuisance, or because children would be put at risk.

Under the new powers, agreed by the council’s cabinet last night, the council will be able to for the first time take in account how the club would effect the ‘character’ of the neighbourhood. It also allows the council to set a limit for the total number of sex venues in an area, and take this into account when considering new applications.

John Smith, Licensing Manager at Lambeth Council, said: “It’s been a source of tremendous frustration to residents that the council’s hands have been effectively tied until now, and councillors on the licensing panel have not been able to stop strip clubs opening in their neighbourhood, even when there has been strong local opposition.

“These new powers give residents a greater say, and councillors wider grounds to down applications, allowing them for example, to consider what effect a strip club would have on the character of a neighbourhood.”

The new powers have been granted after the council adopted S27 of the Policing and Crime Act 2009 and the amendment of Schedule 3 of the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1982. This introduced a new category of sex establishment called a ‘sexual entertainment venue.

The item was agreed at a meeting of last night’s cabinet (21 June) and passed on to the meeting of the full council for formal ratification and adoption in July.

For full details, see the cabinet papers on Lambeth Council’s website.

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