A panel of five councilors (four men and one woman) will be meeting throughout the week to hear applications from all six clubs to have their licences renewed.
If a recent licence hearing is anything to go by, there could very well be no lap dance clubs operating in Leeds come next Friday night.
The councillors will be making their decisions in line with a tough new council policy that came into force on 1st September, which limits the overall number of clubs in Leeds city centre to four, and prevents them being located in “sensitive areas” or near places with “sensitive uses”.
The new policy was drafted in response to what the council said was “strong public concern” voiced by objectors when seven clubs were granted licences in June last year.
It now looks like those objectors, led by local Labour MP Rachel Reeves and the current chair of the council’s Licensing Committee Cllr Rebecca Charlwood, are about to finally get their way.
The seven clubs granted licences last year were Liberte and Purple Door, both on York Place; Deep Blue on Wellington Street; Red Leopard and Wildcats on The Headrow; Black Diamond on New Briggate and Silks in Sovereign Place.
One of those, the Black Diamond, was refused a licence in September in part because of its proximity to the Arena, the Grand Theatre and the as yet unbuilt Eastgate shopping centre. The Black Diamond is approx 400m away from the Arena.
If councillors are going to be consistent in their judgements, that means that any club within 400m of what is considered to be a place of “sensitive use” could well be for the chop.
So, the two clubs on the Headrow won’t get licences – they’re by the Town Hall, the Library and the Art Gallery, all of which classify as “sensitive”. Ditto Silks on Sovereign Place – the council is building a “child-friendly” mini-park in Sovereign Square.
York Place, home to Liberte and Purple Door, is 200m away from City Square, Deep Blue on Wellington Street about 400m.
So the end result by next Friday, the last day the panel is sitting, could well be that there are zero lap-dance clubs in Leeds.