People back ban as Barking and Dagenham consults on ‘sex entertainment venues’

Barking and Dagenham Council has consulted on new rules regulating businesses like strip clubs. Pict

Barking and Dagenham Council has consulted on new rules regulating businesses like strip clubs. Picture: Dominic Lipinski/PA. - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

The people of Barking and Dagenham have made their opinions heard as the council considers new rules to regulate businesses like strip clubs.

More than 70 per cent of the people who responded to the consultation said the authority shouldn't approve any "sex entertainment venues" in the borough. That was compared to the 38 people who thought some should be allowed.

By law, the council has to consult the public on changes to its licensing rules.

The authority already has rules covering sex shops, sex cinemas and "sex encounter establishments", but is now proposing new rules for strip clubs, which come under sex entertainment venues in legislation.

In a report on the proposals, the council's stated goal is to give clarity in case there are any new applications for these kinds of businesses. It said there have been few such applications so far.

Though there were some serious suggestions for possible sites, there were some not-so-serious proposals - one location proposed was in an estate bin shed. Comments often focused on keeping any strip clubs away from schools, community centres and residential areas.

Responding to the consultation, people also raised concerns that any new strip club could bring anti-social behaviour and crime to the area. Ensuring any new venue didn't facilitate sex trafficking was another concern.

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Everyone who gave their opinions remained anonymous. One person commented: "Sex entertainment venues would bring further anti-social behaviour to an area overcrowded with families - no licences or permits of any kind should be granted to Barking and Dagenham, regardless of any conditions, no matter how strict."

Licences for sex entertainment venues can run into the thousands of pounds. Westminster Council charges a total of £3,981 for a new licence and more than £3,200 to renew one. Birmingham Council charges more than £5,600 for a new permission.

The consultation is being considered at the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on Monday, September 30. Any decision on the new licensing rules has to be made at a full council meeting. According to the report going before the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, that could be as early as October.

A council spokesman said councillors on the committee will give their observations on the revised draft licensing policy after the "widespread public consultation".