Leeds City Council is reviewing its policy on lap dancing clubs just six months after it awarded licences to seven of them – and less than 18 months after it adopted the policy it’s currently following.
The review, which is kicking off with a survey of the 3,900 people who have signed up so far as members of the Leeds Citizens Panel, had been expected to take place in early 2014, but appears to have been brought forward.
It’s the second time in the last couple of years that the public of Leeds has been asked what it thinks about the clubs – or “sex establishments” as they’re officially known in council parlance.
A policy document adopted by the council’s leaders in September 2011 was based on consultation with the public (as well as with “the trade”, academics, and action groups) and on “extensive research”.
Why is it all happening again so soon?
Difficult to say. But the council’s current policy – which doesn’t limit the total number of clubs in the city – has met with pretty vocal opposition from local political and church leaders amongst others.
An online petition sponsored by Leeds West MP and Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves is calling for a cap in the number of clubs and for a review of last June’s decision by the council’s licencing committee to award licences to the seven establishments. It also calls for there to be no clubs located in “prominent city centre locations” or close to civic and religious buildings.
Since it was launched in June 2012 the petition has been signed by 121 people.
So, what are the members of the Citizens Panel being asked this time round?
Strangely enough, they’re being asked stuff like: the maximum number of clubs that should be allowed (a cap?), the areas/streets of the city where the clubs shouldn’t be situated (prominent city centre locations?), and the kinds of buildings they shouldn’t be allowed near (civic and religious buildings?).
Spooky coincidence or what?
The licences granted to the seven clubs are only for a year. They run out in October.
Going to be interesting to see what this latest consultation – and, presumably, further extensive research – come up with.