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Lap-dancing club application rejected

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: May 30, 2012

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CAMPAIGNERS against lap-dancing cheered and clapped on Friday as an application for a new strip club in the heart of Newquay was rejected.

There were jubilant scenes in the council chamber in St Austell after members of a Cornwall Council licensing committee voted against plans for Kiss Gentlemen's Club by nine votes to two.

A Sexual Entertainment Venue [SEV] licence for the proposed club, which was formerly Halos on Bank Street, was refused on the grounds of "inappropriate location".

The news has been welcomed by community leaders across the town, including Dave Sleeman of Newquay Town Residents' Association, and Cornwall councillors Geoff Brown, Joanna Kenny and George Edwards.

The town's MP, Steve Gilbert, said that the decision could mark a return to the family-focused "bucket and spade" type resort of old.

Perhaps the biggest smile belonged to equality champion Tracy Earnshaw, who called on ten witnesses at the hearing to back her objections with heartfelt speeches and anecdotal evidence.

Mrs Earnshaw told the Cornish Guardian: "My feelings are naturally ecstatic, shocked, surprised but exceptionally pleased.

"I did not believe that the decision would go our way at all, simply because, as we have seen over and over again, tourism and business have been placed above the needs and even the safety of our community when it comes to the night-time economy.

"Without exception every one of those witnesses talked about a direct link between this lap-dancing club [Halos], its customers and intimidation, sexual harassment and even assault, proving that the main shopping street of Newquay is not an appropriate location for an SEV. I hope a precedent has been set regarding location."

Many witnesses described experiences of leering lads outside Halos making sexual remarks to, and even groping, young women.

One man, who we have agreed not to name, said a group of perverts had surrounded him and his girlfriend and grabbed her buttocks, even as he held her hand.

Youth club leaders at Newquay Christian Centre also sought to dispel the "myth" that vulnerable people and children are not on the streets when the lap-dancing clubs open at 9pm or 10pm.

One mum told members of the Miscellaneous Licensing Committee: "People should be free to go wherever they want without fear of sexual assault or intimidation. It feels like we're having a curfew put on us."

Mrs Earnshaw said the majority of "low-level" sex crimes and many serious attacks were not reported to police.

Applicant Jane Hawkey said she accepted the committee's decision and would review her options.

Her legal representative, James Findlay, QC, spoke of the "Halos hangover" during the hearing – the "shadow" of the club's previous reputation over the application for Kiss.

The club was stripped of its sexual entertainment licence last year after police discovered dancers were regularly breaking a rule requiring them to remain three feet from customers.

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  • Phil_lip  |  June 03 2012, 12:42PM

    Nicely put ****rats. Time and again when these stories come onto the site we have people from both sides of the coin argue their point, if we lived in a fair democratic society then the ratings that are given on these sites as a very rough indicator show clearly that the people against are in the minority, meaning that through tolerance they should accept that the majority don't have an issue with clubs like these. Fair enough their location needs to be fair, a position that the trade is OK for them, and yet not shoved in the face of the minority.

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  • shagrats  |  June 02 2012, 9:19AM

    I suppose for me this isn't about Newquay and the perceived image of the resort, but the issue for me is about freedom of choice. People that object to these places do so from their own personal moral stance and they want to force their morals on me, and people around them. I feel if they were honest here they find the whole thought of people paying for girls to take their clothes off and dance extremely distasteful. I don't, I can't see what the problem is. Its a normal part of life, has been around in society for 1000's of years. These bars harm no one and are well run, but if you want to shut them down then by making up a load of stories blaming them for Newquays major Ills. If you don't like these places don't go in them, but give those that do want to the personal freedom to do so. That is the type of society that I want to live in.

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  • shagrats  |  June 02 2012, 9:01AM

    They loose their licence due to the draconian rules that these places have to operate over, as in people being 3 ft away from a dancer at all times. Not because of any trouble in the bar or trouble from the punters and girls afterwards. They are clean, they have a well run bar, expensive drinks so it keeps out all the binge drinking lout brigade. It may surprise you that you can actually go into places like this with a girl (I have many times) and have a great night. The music's good, the atmosphere is great. Your very very safe. Whats not to like. And I know that the only people getting exploited are the punters paying for overpriced drinks and for what is the equivalent of watching a racy pop video.

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  • Elizabeth2010  |  May 31 2012, 8:55PM

    A quick google search should quickly dispel the myth that 'these places are always well run'! 2 former lap dancing clubs in Newquay lost their licenses after licensing reviews. Both clubs were discovered to be far from 'well run'. 'Tacky' and 'sexual entertainment' appear to go hand in hand.

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  • shagrats  |  May 31 2012, 8:26PM

    What a shame. These places are allways really well run and actually are a oasis of taste in what is a mostly tatty resort.

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  • Elizabeth2010  |  May 31 2012, 6:41PM

    If you have a problem with this decision perhaps you could take the issue up with Cornwall Council's Miscellaneous Licensing Authority who made this decision.

  • sandyshaw  |  May 31 2012, 5:52PM

    by Elizabeth2010 Thursday, May 31 2012, 2:15PM "Yes residents opinions can be used to 'prevent' a business from operating. It is called democracy." No they can't. Their democracy does not have that power. by Elizabeth2010 Thursday, May 31 2012, 2:18PM "Also for clarity this premises/business still has a license to sell alcohol. It was unsuccessful in obtaining a license for sexual entertainment. So the business is still able to operate." You think the mass consumption of mind altering drugs that lead to violence and health degeneration is better for Newquay than victimless sexual entertainment?

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  • Elizabeth2010  |  May 31 2012, 2:18PM

    Also for clarity this premises/business still has a license to sell alcohol. It was unsuccessful in obtaining a license for sexual entertainment. So the business is still able to operate.

  • Elizabeth2010  |  May 31 2012, 2:15PM

    Yes residents opinions can be used to 'prevent' a business from operating. It is called democracy.

  • sandyshaw  |  May 31 2012, 12:53PM

    If Newquay residents really wanted to live in a friendly place they should seek to ban the licensing of alcohol in the town. There is actual evidence to fight for that purpose. If every single pub in the town was converted to a sexual entertainment premises (no alcohol served) the crime levels in Newquay would plummet, it would probably the most family friendly place in the UK.

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