A Leeds lap dance club warned today that it will take legal action should councillors refuse to renew its licence.
Representatives of the Red Leopard club on the Headrow told a hearing of Leeds City Council’s licensing sub-committee that a decision not to renew the club’s existing licence would be challenged by seeking a judicial review “using a human rights argument”.
The committee has been meeting all week to hear renewal applications from Leeds’ six lap dancing clubs. The sixth and final hearing is scheduled for tomorrow morning.
Applicants will be told of the outcome within 14 days.
The decisions are being taken in line with a tough new council policy that came into force on 1st September, which limits the maximum number of lap dance clubs in Leeds city centre to four, and prevents them being located in what the council says are “sensitive areas” or near places with “sensitive uses”.
That’s at least two promises now of a legal challenge to a ‘no’ from the committee.
Earlier this month the manager of a second club on the Headrow, Wildcats, told the Yorkshire Evening Post that he hoped his club’s application wouldn’t have to be taken to the High Court, but added:
“We will of course need to challenge any negative decision through the legal system, which seems unnecessary particularly in the current economic climate.”
Prepared to lose revenue
Speaking at today’s hearing, Red Leopard’s representatives (two women and a man) told the councillors on the committee (three middle-aged males) that the club, which employs 25 dancers, was prepared to lose revenue in its efforts to comply with the new policy and retain its licence.
They were, they said, proposing to change the club’s name to ‘Directors’, to cease trading from the ground floor of the Grade-II Jubilee Chambers building, to fit removable signage that would not be visible during the day, and to use a more discreet side entrance – ‘away from the Town Hall’ – instead of the one currently in use on the Headrow.
They had even offered the council use of the club’s blacked-out windows for advertising, they said.
There were 25 objections to Red Leopard’s application. None of the objectors attended today’s hearing.
Going for a judicial review is apparently the only way of challenging a council decision to refuse a licence on the grounds that the application is ‘inappropriate’. It can be very costly, and, as this story shows, there’s no guarantee of success.