A city centre lap dancing club has been told to close in a week’s time - but the venue has immediately hit back by announcing it is to become a burlesque show bar.
And the Platinum Lounge on Bridge Street Row has defiantly said it will continue to host a fully nude lap dancing event once a month for 11 months of the year - something it is entitled to do without a licence.
This comes after Cheshire West and Chester Council’s licensing committee rejected an application to renew its sexual entertainment venue (SEV) licence.
The decision means Platinum Lounge must shut after 2.30am on Friday, July 24 following nine years in business.
But this prompted the venue to release the following statement: "We are disappointed, we believe Chester council have made the wrong decision. They have listened to the vocal minority instead of the silent majority. We would like to thank everyone who did support us.
"We will remain open with lap dancing until Friday, July 24 when we will become a burlesque show bar, open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. We are in talks with some great touring burlesque shows, we would like to invite everybody to come and have a look.
"Not forgetting that once every month we will be hosting a fully nude lap dancing event."
A lawyer for the White Friars Residents’ Association argued the club’s venue, near an increasingly residential area and on the historic Rows, was the ‘wrong place’.
But the barrister for the applicant Bridgerow Ltd said the Platinum Lounge was a well-run establishment which had been the victim of a moral crusade even though morality was not a factor that could be taken into account in the eyes of the law.
The notice of determination stated that licensing committee members did not disagree with the premises on moral grounds but felt the location was unsuitable.
In conclusion, they ruled: “Members took the view that it is the use of the premises as an SEV which makes the location no longer appropriate in the Rows. They are not against SEVs generally but no longer consider it appropriate for an SEV to be situated in that locality.”
Joyous opponent Debbie Lomas, of The Rainforest shop on Watergate Street Row, who addressed last week’s hearing, told The Chronicle: “My heart goes out to the girls. They have always been at the heart of the campaign. I have never made any bones about that. Other people fought it on the location.
"I never hid the fact that for me this was about the financial and sexual exploitation of the girls and I hope in time they will realise they were at the heart of my campaign.”
Ms Lomas was ‘thrilled’ organisations like Chester Renaissance, the Civic Trust and Chester Cathedral had been in her corner.
Platinum Lounge supporters such as Frank Marnell, chairman of Chester Pubwatch and secretary of the local Licensed Victuallers Association, fears the demise of the Platinum Lounge will allow other venues will take advantage of the ability to operate lap dancing events on up to 11 occasions per year but without having to be registered, meaning the potential for up to 880 occasions at the city’s other 80 licensed venues.
A perplexed Mr Marnell, landlord of The Watergate Inn, described the management of the Platinum Lounge as ‘very very professional’.