Lapdancing on ‘tour’ after licence is lost

Platinum Lounge fights back after venue loses sex establishment licence

Exotic dancers at the Platinum Lounge in Bridge Street, Chester, Emma Louise and Alexia with manager Nigel Woodhouse.

Chester's only lapdancing club has hit back at a decision to remove its licence to thrill male punters by taking the ‘girls’ on tour.

The Platinum Lounge was stripped of its sex establishment licence at Tuesday’s licensing committee because opponents successfully argued the surrounding neighbourhood had become more residential.

But director of operations Nigel Woodhouse pointed out the law allows every licensed premises to hold lap dancing events 11 times a year, without conditions, meaning his erotic dancers can still perform at the existing club and other city venues.

The first event will take place on September 28 at The Platinum Lounge, on Bridge Street Row, which will convert to a late bar from November.

Mr Woodhouse said: “We are planning on taking the Platinum Lounge on tour around as many venues as we can in the city. If any bar, club or function room operators want to hold an event please let us know.”

He is ‘disappointed’ councillors used the ambiguity in new legislation ‘to their advantage’ and claims the loss of the licence will cost more than 40 jobs. The club had operated for eight years with no problems, no objections from police or other authorities plus no objections from its immediate neighbours.

Long-time opponent Debbie Lomas, who spoke at the licensing committee, said afterwards: “I think it’s a good day for women in our ongoing fight for equality.”

Ms Lomas, from Stanley Place, added: “I think it’s a positive step for the city and helps restore public faith in the council because a lot of people have lost faith in them. I could not be more pleased with the outcome.”

“It’s been a long journey to reveal the darker side of the industry. They tried to dismiss it as harmless fun but hopefully we have revealed more of the truth,” added Ms Lomas, co-owner of the Rainforest shop on Watergate Row.

Her victory was made possible after the council adopted a new regulatory regime in 2011 allowing such clubs to be controlled in the same way as sex shops and ‘blue’ cinemas.

Previously, lap dancing clubs applied for a premises licence like a pub or nightclub, with conditions allowing performance and dance.

Applicants only had to prove no disruption to public order or safety and that children were protected from harm.

Solicitor Anthony Lyons, who represented residents in White Friars Court, successfully argued the venue was no longer an appropriate location because the number of people living nearby had increased significantly after commercial premises were converted into homes.

 
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