No sex please! Cabinet backs policy against strip clubs in Barking and Dagenham

Barking and Dagenham's cabinet has approved a policy effectively banning businesses like strip clubs

Barking and Dagenham's cabinet has approved a policy effectively banning businesses like strip clubs from the borough. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Barking and Dagenham’s cabinet has backed a policy that would make it extremely difficult for strip clubs to open in the borough.

The policy, which has to go to full council for approval, sets the number of appropriate "sex entertainment venues" - which includes strip clubs - as zero.

Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell welcomed the responses to the consultation on the policy. More than 70 per cent of the people who gave their opinion said they didn't want any sex entertainment venues in the borough.

"I want to put on record, this wasn't us going out and asking if there was going to be those establishments," said Cllr Rodwell. "This was us making sure that residents were being protected and that we were responding to their concerns about this."

Barking and Dagenham easily has the highest proportion of young people in London - more than 27 per cent. The next closest borough is Redbridge, with 23pc. The policy notes that statistic, along with the area's residential nature.

The document states: "The council considers it inappropriate to allow the introduction of sex entertainment venues in any locality because of the impact that they and their customers may have."

It goes on to say the council will look at each application for a license on "individual merits", but adds approval would only be in exceptional circumstances. Good character and a high standard of management alone would not be enough to meet that threshold.

Mr Rodwell added at the October 15 meeting: "I have no problem with the night time economy and I think it's important that we have a night time economy that works for everyone.

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"I read the comments, and it was very clear what our residents wanted to see. The wanted to see good evening entertainment that doesn't involve derogatory [behaviour].

"A lot of the people in the [sexual entertainment] act will be in that act because of their vulnerability and, actually, do we then start condoning red light districts? Do we start condoning prostitution?"

Applications for sex entertainment venues can rake in thousands of pounds for local authorities. Westminster City Council charges new sex entertainment venues more than £4,000 for a licence.