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Council refuses lap dancing licence for Bedford

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Yesterday (29 September) Bedford Council threw out an application made on behalf of the ‘Saints and Sinners’ nightclub to allow lap dancing/sex entertainment to take place on the second floor of its venue.

The Council rejected the applicant’s proposals on the basis that such a licence would be inappropriate in that location. Local business owners and residents, supported by the Christian Legal Centre, argued that such a venue was not suitable in an area where there were schools, churches, shops and homes. More than 1000 letters of objection were received by the Council in advance of the hearing.

Former Councillor Peter Chiswell produced plans which showed the proximity of schools and homes to the area, pointing out that many people were concerned about the situation of the club given the activities that may take place inside.

Jon Payne, the solicitor representing Mr Chiswell, argued that the character of the relevant locality meant that it would be inappropriate for the council to grant the application. His arguments persuaded the council, who held that the licence application would be refused.

Andrea Williams, CEO of the CLC said:

"This is a fantastic result for the people of Bedford and we are very encouraged by the Council's decision. Yesterday's finding demonstrates that it is possible to successfully challenge lap dancing/sex establishment licences and that Councils are aware of the real risks and detriments of allowing a sex club to operate in city centres.
"We would encourage anyone who wants to object to sex licence applications to contact us. We are here to support you all the way, because we recognise the blight that sex clubs have on town centres and communities, and the effect their presence has on women. Following today's result, we are confident that more successes are possible."